The Loudoun branch of the NAACP and other local organizers and youth are partnering to hold four rallies in support of the "Black Lives Matter" movement beginning Sunday at 3 p.m. at the corner of Main and Maple streets in Purcellville.
Following Sunday’s protest walk in Leesburg to honor George Floyd, a black man killed by a Minneapolis police officer, Loudoun residents -- including many high schoolers and recent graduates -- contacted the local NAACP branch about their eagerness to get involved.
Floyd died after the police officer knelt down in the back of his neck for at least eight minutes. The killing led to several days of protests across the world.
Michelle Thomas, president of the Loudoun NAACP branch, said she was excited to see the interest.
“We’re going to hear from the youth, so I'm inspired [and] I'm happy that these guys reached out,” Thomas said to the Times-Mirror. “We’re not just talking about black kids right now, we’re talking about white kids that have been impacted by this work and that’s committed to change.”
(Editor's note: Thomas spoke with the Times-Mirror prior to the death of her 16-year-old son on Thursday.)
Thomas said the rallies will be structured to be educational, and they will have a theme each weekend.
On Sunday, the theme will be about equity in Loudoun County Public Schools.
Rallies will continue on June 14 with the theme “Juneteenth” in Ashburn, “fathers” in Sterling on June 21 and “voting” in South Riding on June 28. Route details and times are still being finalized.
Thomas said if anyone thinks the protesting, rioting and looting across the country is strictly because of Floyd’s death they are mistaken.
“Anybody thinks that this is related to the death of a single man has missed the last 400 years in America,” Thomas said. “This is a response to 400 years of white feet on black necks, and so being able to educate the public about the public atrocity, and also the profit atrocity perpetrated against African Americans in every city, in every locality, in every hamlet of this nation, it is the only way to responsibly and realistically confront what happened.”
People can follow Loudoun NAACP on Facebook for further details on the rallies when they become available. Organizers are encouraging everyone to follow social-distancing measures and wear masks.
NAACP protests around Loudoun County
-June 7 at 3 p.m. in Purcellville (Theme: Equity in LCPS)
-June 14 in Ashburn (Theme: Juneteenth)
-June 21 in Sterling (Theme: Fathers)
-June 28 in South Riding (Theme: Voting)
Other local protests, rallies and marches
-June 6 from 2-6 p.m. starting at 20201 Cascades Pkwy. in Sterling “#BLMMarchSterling” (Click here for details)
-June 6 at 2 p.m. in Leesburg on the Town Green (Source: Town of Leesburg)