BROOKVILLE — Brookville was the site of the latest in a string of Black Lives Matter peaceful protests that have been held around the area in recent weeks.
On Saturday, a group gathered on the Jefferson County Courthouse lawn for an evening of planned speakers, marching, and a candlelight vigil. This protest was planned by Brookville resident Brooke Johnson with the help of Meagan Schmader and Quanshay Mceachin. Kerith Strano also donated $100 for supplies at the festival.
The protest kicked off with several local speakers, including state Senate candidate Margie Brown, followed by Sabrina Boal, Brookville resident Carole Briggs, veteran Karen Knapp of Reynoldsville, and the Rev. Ben Austin of Brookville Grace Lutheran.
Each of the speakers had a different, but impactful approach to addressing the crowd on the Black Lives Matter movement. Boal brought to light the recent death of Robert Fuller, who was found hanging from a tree on June 10.
“This has been going on, and is still continuously going on,” Boal said. “As a woman in an interracial relationship, I do not want to bring a child into this world until everyone is treated equally.”
The protest raised $200, which will be split and donated between Black Visions Collective and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education fund.
Once the scheduled speakers were finished, others were welcomed to take the mic for their own statements or speech. One young man named Rory said he was there for his sister.
“I’m here to support my sister and all black lives,” Rory said.
A few other Brookville locals shared their own experiences with racism. April Hetrick recalled having a fellow classmate call her a racial slur for the first time in sixth grade and suddenly feeling different. Adrianna Rubino talked about a note telling her “the colors (she painted her shop) are more suited to Latin America.”
Later, the protesters began the first march of the day. Those marching made a loop around Main Street, with the assistance of the Brookville Police Department, who stopped traffic for the group. Officers were thanked for the service and offered food and water throughout the day.
They regrouped on the courthouse lawn for chanting led by Quanshay Mceachin. The group made a second loop around town with their signs and another round of chanting at the courthouse before taking a break to keep everyone hydrated.
Chalk the Walk was then started, where buckets of chalk were provided for protesters to write encouraging messages on the sidewalks.
A final lap around town and one last bout of chanting were held before the sun went down. Once the chanting finished, protesters knelt on the lawn for a silent eight minutes and 43 seconds in honor of George Floyd, who was killed by police during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25.
The candlelight vigil was the last event of the night, giving everyone a final moment to reflect on the day.