Hundreds lined 52nd Avenue West in the Meadowdale area Wednesday night, holding signs and soliciting honks from passing cars to honor the life of George Floyd while protesting against police brutality.
Chants and car horns filled the air as community members gathered near St. Timothy Lutheran Church, located in the 5100 block of 164th Street Southwest, to hold a candlelight vigil for Floyd — a Black man who died last month when a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes — and others who have died at the hands of law enforcement.
Floyd’s death sparked outrage across the U.S. and worldwide, leading to protests and civil unrest in many cities, including Seattle, Bellevue and other parts of King County. Some demonstrations have led to looting and violence, causing nearby cities to take precautions.
Earlier this week in Lynnwood, Alderwood Mall closed for two days and Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith declared a civil emergency and put a curfew in place overnight.
Crowds lined both sides of 52nd Avenue West between 164th Avenue West and 148th Avenue West, rotating among chants of “Black lives matter,” “No justice, no peace,” and saying names of Black men and women who have died during encounters with police.
Law enforcement was on standby, including the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, and only interfered when a group of demonstrators stood in the median strip chanting. After protester’s refused to leave the median, a deputy parked his patrol vehicle near the 52nd Avenue West and 164th Avenue West to alert oncoming traffic of the crowds ahead.
“The amount of people on this street is inspired, for Edmonds,” said Jacque Julien, Executive Director of Communities of Color Coalition.
However, Julien added that large crowds are only one part of enacting change, and there is still more work to do behind the scenes.
“We need folks to show up to vote, we need folks in board rooms, we need folks disrupting policies,” she said. “That’s where the real work occurs.”
The event was sponsored by the Beverly Elementary School PTA, which encouraged community members to wear masks and practice social distancing. Chalk on the sidewalk also marked recommended distances for demonstrators.
Organizer Shawn Green said he and other families decided to hold the event after teaching their kids about the Civil Rights Movement and other modern instances of racial injustice.
“We looked at how communities sometimes came together in the ’50s and ’60s and stood in solidarity against injustice,” he said. “We see injustice everyday around us and want to stand with our neighbors.”
–Story and photos by Cody Sexton