“Leading with love”: protesters march from Pawtucket City Hall demanding change

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WLNE) – Black Lives Matter Rhode Island protesters gathered at Pawtucket City Hall Thursday morning to deliver a message to city leaders. The message was one of frustration and wanting change on a local and national level.

Dozens of speakers made their voices loud before the march, telling stories of discrimination within the city. They say they know change won’t happen fast, but that this movement is the start of a foundation for building an equal society.

“We are here to say that we are coming from another perspective,” Black Lives Matter RI organizer Mark Fischer said to the crowd. “You cannot defeat hate with hate, only love can drive out hate, only light can drive out darkness. We’re here as leaders of our community leading in love.”

Fischer tells ABC 6 the march had been planned for months and no rain or storm would stop them from going out and making their voices heard.

The words spoken at the rally came out of frustration after hearing about incidents across the country time and time again. One speaker said she woke up to the headlines and video of Daniel Prude, who, according to video and his family, was suffocated after police put a hood on him in Rochester, NY.

“Are we angry, yes, but we deserve to be angry for the innocent killings and lives lost,” Ashley Stewart from Attleboro said. “We should not have to explain ourselves anymore.”

Pawtucket residents say racism is alive locally, too. They say they want equality in every branch of government and want police who are willing to work with them, not against them.

“We’re going to make a statement to Pawtucket law enforcement and city officials that racism here is so entrenched,” Fischer said. “It hasn’t gone unnoticed and we want to let them know that we’re calling them out right now.”

After the speakers, protesters peacefully marched to McCoy Stadium. The group of about 20 to 30 people chanted, “I can’t breathe” and “black lives matter”.

The Black Lives Matter Rhode Island group says this is not the end and they plan to keep holding protests and rallies and hope that people will continue to remain loud.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2020

Categories: News, Pawtucket