Peace on parade

PEOPLE OF MANY RACES embraced the moment last week — and each other — with one common purpose. Here, Mercedes Hammond, a Marshall transplant from Minneapolis hugs a fellow protester. RIGHT: Many protestors used signs to share their feelings. Photo / Per Peterson

In contrast to recent violent events in larger cities, hundreds of people gathered with a peaceful purpose in Marshall last week in the wake of George Floyd’s death

By Per Peterson

Ceara Lasley just felt like she needed to be there.

“I felt God (Wednesday morning) and knew I just needed to do something about this and get the word out there that everybody’s life matters — black, white, American Indian … I just want people to know that God is with everybody,” said Lasley, who is Native American.

Lasley, who just last month graduated from Tracy Area High School, hopped in a car last Wednesday evening with fellow TAHS graduates Jordan Kunkel, Brooke Christian, Lindsey Horner and Cora Leonard, to be part of a rally to honor George Floyd, the African American man who unjustly lost his life on May 25 in the now-infamous altercation with a Minneapolis police officer.

As a Native American, Lasley has experienced her share of racial profiling, and wanted to pay her respects to Floyd while helping spread the word about racial injustice in America.

“I’ve had racism toward me, my dad did when he was little — I just want that to stop,” Lasley said. “My mom was a little nervous when I came here. She was in the military and she was in riots before.”

Lasley was taken aback by the video that showed the Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd until he lost consciousness.

“I thought, ‘Why isn’t anyone helping him,” she said. “Then I realized that this is gonna end up being bad. My cousin is a cop and I want all the people to know that not all cops are bad — he would never hurt a fly. It’s just certain individuals.”

Lasley was joined by hundreds of people from Marshall and the surrounding area at Memorial Park in downtown Marshall shortly before 6 p.m. on Wednesday. After a couple of speeches and a prayer, the throng of vociferous but peaceful protesters headed out of downtown toward the East College Drive strip.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.