ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) – Several hundred people gathered in Abingdon on Saturday morning for a peaceful vigil aimed at protesting racial injustice nationwide.
Organizers with the Appalachia Peace Education Center told News Channel 11 that the rally is about coming together and honoring George Floyd and others who have died at the hands of racial injustice.
“We are here to mourn the victims of violence against black people in this country,” says co-chair of the organization, Buckey Boone.
“We want to accomplish a little more peace and unity in the community. As well as recognizing that not everyone is angry. We feel an empathy toward the family and toward each other,” said Marva Wheeler with the education center.
The gathering began with a sermon and the reading of 100 names of black Americans who lost their lives die to violence. It also featured 8 minutes and 48 seconds of silence that signified the exact amount of time George Floyd was pinned under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer before he died.
The prayer vigil and rally turned to a peaceful march through downtown Abingdon.
“No justice no peace. It shouldn’t even have to be something we march about you know? We all bleed the same color,” says protester Takoda Cato.
Organizers said from Abingdon to Minnesota, the message is the same, and change is needed.
“African Americans and people of color are not given the same opportunities that I have and other white people have, and we need to change that system,” says Boone.