CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Several hundred people walked peacefully in Chesterfield during the March for Equal Justice on Wednesday evening.
The group started at police headquarters in the county with the march ending at the Chesterfield County Courthouse.
Organizers at the event said they want the stories, experiences and voices of black people to be heard, to foster positive relationships with police departments and for the community to work together for change.
There was a powerful moment after the march when protesters came together and sang “Lean On Me.”
“The real work starts by getting individuals across our county, to talk about police issues, to talk about race, bias, whether conscious or unconscious, we have to address those issues and work together," said Tavorise Marks, one of the march organizers.
Marks worked alongside Dr. Shedrick McCall and Michael Jackson to organize the call for the community to stand up for equality. The group was overwhelmed to see more than a thousand people of all backgrounds march for 1.3 miles from the Chesterfield police station to the courthouse. The march was escorted by Chesterfield Police.
“We want people to understand that we are not against anybody," said Dr. McCall. “They need to hear our voice and in order to hear our voice they need to hear our story, they need to hear our struggles that we go through as black men and black women in this country, as well as in this county.”
The organizers said their goal of the march was to ensure the stories, experiences and voices of black people were heard, to foster positive relationships with police departments, and encourage the community to all work together towards lasting change that leads to equality.
“It’s about standing with the victims of police brutality, most recently George Floyd’s family,” explained Jackson. “We want to form strong partnerships with our local law enforcement, so we strengthen our relationships with our community, and we want to advocate for specific policy change.”
Those who marched gave a rousing applause as a pastor concluded the march with a prayer that “eyes would be open." The pastor asked his 17-year-old son to come forward and asked three CCPD officers to form a circle around him. As the officers held hands around rising senior, Joshua Leggett, his father prayed for understanding, for the safety of the officers and for a better future for all.
“Right in this moment in time, as a young black man, it’s not easy to see the police as a force on your side, but to have them form a circle around me and do what they say they do, which is to protect and serve, that’s all I could ask for," Leggett said. “Change will happen.”
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