Nearly a month after George Floyd’s death, the uproar over police brutality continues across the country.
On Saturday, Southwest Florida will join in for another day.
This is set to be one of the many marches or peaceful protests we’ve seen locally but also one of the very few early protests in the area.
Demonstrators met at the intersection of MLK Blvd. and Highway 80 in LaBelle around 8 a.m. and will march down to the courthouse. The protest began around 8:45 p.m.
An 8AM March for justice in LaBelle. This group is not huge- but they don’t have to be. They say if you want to change the world, you start with yourself and you start with your town. @winknews pic.twitter.com/m1yFWhkxQ5
— Sydney Persing (@sydneypersing) June 20, 2020
The Black Lives Matter march will echo the sentiments of the dozens we’ve seen across our area. You’ll hear demands for justice and an end to police brutality.
This will also be a way to honor victims of hate crimes.
Organizers do have a clear message: Bring signs, water, clean up after yourself and adhere to social distancing guidelines. Above all, remain peaceful.
While it’s safe to expect a lot of signs, the chants will at least look similar to what we’ve seen recently across our area.
In addition to demanding justice and change, this march is in many ways about healing too.
Saturday’s march includes a very unique and very special moment to honor FWC Officer Julian Keen, also known as “LaBelle’s son,” who was killed one week ago.
The FWC officer was off duty when he stopped 20-year-old Eliceo Hernandez for reckless driving last week.
Deputies say during the stop, Hernandez shot Keen and he died at the scene.
He was called a mentor, an encourager and a friend.
“If he saw somebody that broke down or something, he would get out of his car and try to help people. That’s all he ever did since he was a little boy,” said Keen’s mother, Dolores.
So Saturday’s protest against police brutality, against injustice and against victims taken too soon, will begin with a prayer and a moment of silence for the fallen officer who meant so much to so many people.
At the end of the protest, demonstrators will kneel for 8 minutes and 45 seconds to honor George Floyd.