Black Lives Matter Protest in Eugene Expresses Outrage Over Local, National Racism
After the death of George Floyd, protests have erupted across the nation in response to racism and police brutality. In Eugene, an estimated crowd of 7,000-10,000 people peacefully came together on Sunday to promote equality.
The peaceful event took place after a protest on Friday night turned violent with dumpsters set on fire and businesses being vandalized.
The protest in support of the Black Lives Matter movement began at the Federal Courthouse. Attorney Jessica L. Brown encouraged people to address the racism happening locally.
“If you are choosing to be neutral at this time, I would like to state that your privilege has allowed you to do so," said Brown. "And it is rooted in the fact that your body has not been politicized since your inception. Oregon may be known for its liberalism, its breweries, and its good times. But those fun things don’t water down the confederate flags, they don’t water down the coded language.”
After initial speeches, protesters blocked traffic as they marched on the Ferry Street Bridge and made their way to Alton Baker Park.
While there, Senator and former police officer James Manning said the turnout for Sunday’s protest was great, but real change will happen at the ballot box.
“In order to make real change, what you have to do is get on the inside where you can actually create the policies that’s going to drive the change," said Manning. "You have to be involved with local politics, city, county.”
Manning asked protesters to encourage their family and friends to vote and pay attention to who they are electing into office.
Following the organized protest, groups gathered in areas downtown throughout the afternoon, ending up once again at the federal courthouse.