Today, demonstrators took to the streets in Columbia to protest the recent killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as what they describe as systemic racism in police work.
The event started in front of the Boone County Courthouse, where around 30 protesters gathered and handed out signs. The demonstrators marched west towards the Columbia Police Department Headquarters, stopping in front of the Criminal Investigations Division on 7th and Walnut, across the street from the courthouse.
Here, some demonstrators spoke about why they were there.
One speaker, a young black woman named Kiessence Basset, said they’re gathering in Columbia because police violence affects everyone.
“There's black people in Columbia. There's black people everywhere. There's humans in Columbia,” said Basset. “None of these protests should be confined to one space. None of these protests should be confined to one people doing them.”
Basset emphasized that everyone is affected by police violence, whether they realize it or not.
Protestors used chalk to create a mural on the sidewalk outside the police station. People wrote messages of love and peace, as well as words of support for the families of those who have been killed by police officers.
One of the event’s organizers, who goes by “Ellie,” said the protest was organized in just one day. Ellie said one of the goals of today’s protest was to show love and compassion for those who have witnessed atrocities. But she also said love alone won’t fix the system.
“We want change, we want to feel safe,” said Ellie. “It’s not a crazy thing to want black people to feel safer in this country. It’s perfectly valid. We built this country.”