LAKELAND, Fla. — Hundreds of people gathered at Munn Park in Lakeland for another Black Lives Matter protest in memory of George Floyd.
In a moving display of symbolism and remembrance, a fleet of hearses drove through downtown Lakeland Sunday, each one bearing the image of an unarmed black male killed by police or a white male.
As the final hearse pulled away, protesters descended on Munn Park for a rally.
Sunday’s Black Live Matter Restoration Polk event was part rally, part spiritual revival, and part call to action. It’s a message these protesters heard loud and clear.
“It’s not time to be quiet. It’s time to stand up for what you know is right, otherwise you’ll just fall for anything,” said Lakisha Lewter, a protester.
Another protester, Jaime Gibbons, told Spectrum News, “Talk is cheap. We’ve been saying a long one that we support everyone. It’s time to be here and do something about it.”
For many in this crowd, this was the first time they attended any kind of social justice rally or protest. Others say the video was just too difficult to ignore.
Tristan Gibbons, protest
“What was it about that video that made you come out and protest? That was like the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s like death by a thousand cuts. When it is over?” said Tristan Gibbsons. “That could be anybody’s friend or brother or father of cousin. It’s disgusting.”
This is the second George Floyd related protest held in Polk county. The last one ended in conflict and violence. But this one remained largely peaceful.
Attendees say they’ll continue attending these rallies which they hope will bring lasting change.
“I feel like if we keep pushing forward and take the right steps, we can accomplish something,” said Derrick Spann.