Hundreds of people rallied in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in Corvallis Saturday.
The group marched through the downtown business district and ended up in front of the Benton County Courthouse. As they walked, mostly on sidewalks, the protestors shouted "Black Lives Matter" along with other phrases frequently used in the movement.
Carmen Washington was one of several Black speakers who told the crowd about discrimination they’ve experienced. She said she moved to Oregon at age 12. In school, she said she felt like she had to change her personality in order to make friends.
“As I grew up, and those friendships that I thought were so important faded, I realized the significance that I have in my life as a person and the value that I add to people’s lives, it’s not defined by my culture, it’s not defined by my race," she said. "It’s defined by who I am truly.”
Washington said was glad to see the number of people who turned out for the rally. "To see this large community come out and support it has really been heartwarming," she said.
Jon Willis came to Corvallis from Woodburn to participate in the march. He said he's attended about five protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement this summer. As a Black man, Willis said it's important to make his voice heard in support of racial justice.
"I have two children. Their lives are important to me," he said. "I think people should be treated equally and with respect."
Organizers said on Facebook that they’re planning another march in Corvallis next month.