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Protests provide common ground for Memphis millennials

Liaudwin Seaberry Jr., a journalism student at the University of Memphis, is an intern for The New Tri-State Defender. {Twitter}

Hundreds of young people in Memphis have put feet to pavement in protest of the gruesome killing of 46-old-old George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers on May 25.

With varying interests and backgrounds, they are embracing a common cause.

Here are three snapshots:

University of Memphis student Giselle Garcia:

Giselle Garcia (Courtesy photo)

“The protests in Memphis have shown that you can advocate for Black Lives Matter just by marching for the cause.”

A native of Illinois, Garcia said she routinely experiences being stereotyped for her Hispanic heritage.

She understands the feeling of being judged purely for what’s on the outside, not on what’s inside. Her determination to bring about change reflects her fighter mentality.

No stranger to protest for various causes, Garcia participated in the fourth protest near Downtown May 30.

“It was amazing to observe all of the signs that were being held up and (people) chanting no justice, no peace. It’s nice to know there are people set on making a difference and truly desire change in their communities and around the nation.”

Sean Crocker (Courtesy photo)

University of Memphis student Sean Crocker: Fed up with senseless acts of brutality by police, Crocker promised himself that he would march with the protesters to raise awareness.

Crocker wasn’t just marching for George Floyd. He was representing all of the unarmed African-Americans killed by police brutality.

“We all got together and protested peacefully, whether it be blacks, whites or other races,” Crocker said, after attending the protests on June 1. “We took a knee for nine minutes as a tribute to George Floyd, and then we marched Downtown, chanting his name and that black lives matter.”

While Crocker was protesting, he was alert for anyone determined to take a turn toward violence and shared his relief that nothing like that happened during his participation.

While the 20 year old isn’t sure the protests will be impactful over the long haul, he’s grateful he joined in to bring about needed change in the country.

Memphis native and Tennessee State student Dylan Nicks:

“As a black man who has been racially profiled twice in the last month by police officers, supporting the Black Lives Matter movement means a lot to me. This is personal.” — Dylan Nicks {Courtesy photo}

As Nicks marched Downtown on the first day (May 28) of the protests, he thought of his own experiences with racial profiling.

“As a black man who has been racially profiled twice in the last month by police officers, supporting the Black Lives Matter movement means a lot to me. This is personal,” he said.

Nicks said he realized the power of the protest when he saw hundreds of people marching for equality for African-Americans. He had not envisioned ever being part of such a dynamic.

“The leaders in power won’t be able to sleep as well anymore or remain unbothered by what’s happening,” he said.

“I believe the country will never be the same once this is over, and that real change will occur.”

(Reach Liaudwin Seaberry Jr. at seaberry89s@gmail.com.)

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