GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - A day of peace and empowerment was the aim of the Gulfport protest held late Saturday morning.
Over 20 protestors arrived at Mount Olive Lodge with signs promoting the state flag’s retirement and bringing George Floyd’s death to light.
The march and rally were both meant to stay tranquil while packing a punch— encouraging the end to systemic racism.
“What makes me pride it’s a lot of young people standing up for our rights of justice, peace, unity.”
Jamilla Swopes said after an encounter with discrimination when she was fired from her job, she understands change will not happen overnight, but speaking out is the foundation.
“People seeing and understanding our acknowledgment and conversation. When I’m on the street, people come up to us and they say, ‘what is going on, what’s it about,' and we have that conversation. At the end of the day we can come to terms and say this is right,” Swopes said.
Young people took the stage with speeches prepared. Some said it’s important to know the history beyond the basics that are taught in the school system.
"But if the families are not teaching us, we didn't know these things and I'm 47 and it's a lot of stuff I still don't know about our Black history. I'm thankful for the technology. That helps me carry it on to my grandkids to teach them there's more out there than Martin Luther King, Malcom X. "
Jaime Smith believes there are many ways to make a stand, you just have to find one that suits you.
“I can only speak for myself and my white friends, but I think there’s lots of ways to help out. You can educate yourself and others through reading, support black on businesses, sign petitions. There’s a way for everyone to continue,” Smith said.