Fall River residents make a statement with peace walk
FALL RIVER, Mass. (WLNE) — In Fall River on Sunday, the reaction to George Floyd’s death trying to strike a different tone from protests elsewhere…that have turned into violence or vandalism.
“With everything going on in other cities, there’s a lot of looting, a lot of damage being done,” said Christian Frederick of Fall River. “But the peaceful protest, you can get across the same message without people getting hurt.”
Organizers called the event a peace walk instead of a protest.
They say the goal is to spread a message against racism and police brutality in a safe way.
The group marched through the city, to Heritage Park, before returning here to Government Center.
“We want people to feel safe, to be able to get their point across,” said organizer Emily Holmes of Somerset. “And so I think by maintaining that peace walk factor, and that it wasn’t a protest, would help kind of foster the environment to make them feel comfortable.”
But not everyone in Fall River Sunday was on board with that message.
After the peace walkers left, a man who did not appear to be affiliated with that group vandalized the ABC6 News live truck, starting to write the words “RIP George.”
Another resident says she’s not surprised that anger is erupting.
“The violence, unfortunately, gives people an excuse to change the conversation,” said Brittany Pacheco-Ivanson of Fall River. “But it’s also an inevitable outcome when people try to work within the system to change it, and then there’s never any change.”
She says that need for change goes far beyond Fall River.
“It’s not just change with one police department, in one city, in one state,” Pacheco-Ivanson said. “This is systemic. It needs to change nationwide.”