Hundreds of people flooded Park Avenue in the City of Falls Church calling for justice after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Two rising juniors at George Mason High School — Ariana H. and Sarah E. — organized the walk, joining the global protests and rallies over Floyd’s death. Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder following a viral video showing his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes, while three other officers at the scene were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
“We had been watching the protests going on around the country and wanted to bring it closer to home,” the organizers said in a statement to Tysons Reporter.
The walk started around 1:30 p.m. with participants meeting in West End Park for brief comments before marching. Protesters shouted “No justice! No peace!” Floyd’s name and other chants as they made their way down Park Avenue, peacefully escorted by the city’s police department.
“Hands up! Don’t shoot!”
“Hey, hey! Ho, ho! These racist cops have got to go!”
“Black Lives Matter!”
With the temperature hovering at 90 degrees Fahrenheit, medics stationed themselves along the route, and several people passed out water bottles.
Many residents lined the route, waving signs and photographing the march from their porches and front lawns. At one point, several workers at a nearby construction site took selfies with the protesters.
Ariana provided the following statement to Tysons Reporter ahead of the event:
Here’s our vision. Our community is often isolated from the injustices experienced in other communities. We are just two rising juniors at George Mason High School who wanted to raise awareness in our community and march in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all people who have lost their lives simply because of the color of their skin. As a community, we can do better.
As two non-black people, we wanted to give the floor to black people in our community and make sure their voices are heard. It’s time for us to be allies and actively work to dismantle the systemic racism that has plagued our country for far too long. We had been watching the protests going on around the country and wanted to bring it closer to home.
We have the privilege to opt ourselves out of these times, but that will not bring the change that is needed. We have a duty to listen to our black peers and educate ourselves because it is not enough to not be racist; we must be anti-racist.
The City of Falls Church will see another event sparked by Floyd’s death later this week. On Sunday, locals plan to host the Falls Church Justice for Black Lives Rally at Cherry Hill Park at 1 p.m.