Hundreds march in Black Lives Matter protest in South Kingstown led by youth

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WLNE) – Hundreds of people attended a Black Lives Matter protest in South Kingstown Tuesday that was led by youth in town.

Protesters filled Kingstown Road around 1 p.m. and marched across town, ending back at Old Mountain Field where people took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence to honor George Floyd.

“I wanted to organize something in South Kingstown because I personally couldn’t go to Providence, my parents wouldn’t let me,” said Abby Dech, one of the organizers.

When Dech and her friends decided to put on the protest, they had no idea how many people would show up.

“It’s crazy when I posted the poll I had 32 people saying they wanted to attend, so when all of these people showed up it was kinda surreal.”

Protesters of all ages showed up with signs, lining Kingstown Road to get the attention of drivers passing by. One of the youngest protesters was 12-year-old Diyani Mitchell-Sims who marched with her mom and brother.

“We need to get justice for George Floyd, so that’s what we’re doing by having a peaceful protest and holding up signs cause black lives do matter. Black lives matter, like black men and black women and even black children like me and my little brother. We need justice and we don’t deserve to be treated this way.”

A funeral for George Floyd was held Tuesday afternoon, and many protesters watched beforehand.

Jean Bowen of South Kingstown said Floyd’s final words struck a chord with her.

“I’m especially moved by Mr. Floyd’s last call for his mom. It’s very touching, very powerful for all mothers. He called on his mom at the last moment of his life, and it has brought us all out to stand up for justice for George and all the other black men and women who’ve been killed,” said Bowen.

South Kingstown Police led the group of protesters through town and watched on until they wrapped up around 3 p.m. One officer was seen taking a knee with the protesters.

Ginger Mombelly, one of the youth organizers, said she’ll be starting a Black Lives Matter group in town and will hold more events to spark change.

“There’s so many black and brown people here and we face so much racism and prejudice here, you know… I think it’s really important for us to stick together especially right now.”

© WLNE-TV 2020

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