With the recent death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis, Minn., at the hands of a police officer, citizens all over the country have begun to protest against racial injustice and inequality. Among them are the citizens of Sugar Hill, who gathered in a peaceful protest at the Sugar Hill City Hall on June 1. Families of all races and ethnicities came together with colorful homemade signs flashing support statements towards the African American community such as “Black Lives Matter”, “Justice for Floyd”, and the names of African American citizens who were killed as a result of police brutality and racism such as Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Even though a number of protests around the nation have turned violent, the protesters in Sugar Hill held a very moving and powerful protest remaining peaceful.
The protest began with a moment of silence lasting nine minutes to represent the amount of time George Floyd was pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer, as well as, many small speeches from individuals attending the protest.
An African American mother and Sugar Hill resident, Tiffany Hale Carter spoke about the significance of this particular event in the city, “Sugar Hill is my home and I am very active in this community. We are known to have a lot of diversity and when something like this happens, everybody was hurt and what we needed was for an event like this to bring our community together. I have two black sons and one black daughter and I don’t want them to have to fear for their lives when they are walking through a neighborhood or just being outside. I want a better world for my children and that is why I’m here today.”
The protest consisted of people of all races and ages, including many students. Jasmine Tobar and Natalie Lopez are primary examples of the current generation that desire for a change in the world they live in. “We are here because all lives matter and everyone deserves to have a voice,” Tobar stated when asked why she and Lopez had attended the protest. “This [racism] is what people are teaching their children and that should not be happening,” Lopez said.
Several students from Lanier High School spoke up and gave powerful, heartfelt speeches to the crowd. The students come from different backgrounds, different races yet each one has been impacted by the events leading up to this protest. Each one trying to put into words their emotions and their thoughts. Mr. Bobby Gueh, a school guidance counselor from Lanier High School also gave a few remarks.
Mr. Chuck Allen, pastor of the Sugar Hill Church was among one of the individuals who first started speaking to the crowd of 18 protesters which soon grew in size to 30 or more. “We must speak up against injustice. It doesn’t matter what color you are. We are people that must speak up for those that are marginalized and the people that are being judged for the color of their skin. We are to be people that love one another and until we realize that, we will forever fight racism,” Allen stated when asked if he had anything to convey about the message within the protest.
Many at the protest witnessed the presence of cops and demanded that an officer say something yet none came forward. However, upon asking for a few words from Sergeant King, she had a very pleasant response to the protest she was witnessing, “I’m glad to see so many people here. I think that our young people can make a difference in their future by coming out here as a community with so many different races and showing love, that’s how I believe they will make a change in the world.”
With a unifying factor present in the citizens of Sugar Hill, it is safe to say that everyone came together to support a good cause and vocalize their discontent with the police brutality they have seen through the deaths of others simply by the color of their skin. Hopefully, with the continuation of peaceful and nonviolent protests such as this one, a monumental change can occur for future generations to come.
— By Anoshka Ramkumar, Intern