Three Chippewa Valley High School students turned what started as a series of iMessages into a march in Sterling Heights that attracted a crowd that appeared to reach a thousand people Saturday afternoon.
At one point, when marchers stopped to kneel in honor of George Floyd, organizer Mary Vucaj, 17, said: “Looking out at you, I can’t even see where it ends.”
She could have been speaking literally as well as metaphorically, based on the number of people filling the four lanes of eastbound Hall Road.
Mary Vucaj, 17, Angel Santana, 15, and Ariana Belyue, 16, organized the anti-police brutality march because they said they don’t want future generations to be treated differently because of their skin color. Video, below:
“I want to do this so when I have kids they will not have to go through what I have,” Santana said as marchers gathered at the Golden Circle.
The peaceful march ended at Macomb County Community College in Clinton Township. The group marched down Hall Road, shouting chants familiar to protest veterans: “No justice, no peace,” “Say his name: George Floyd,” “This is what democracy looks like.”
“We marched today to say that we are all the same, we all bleed the same color,” Belyue said. “They say ‘equality,’ but we need action.”
“If we can do this, you can do it, too,” Santana told the crowd. Belyue thanked protesters for their participation.
“Without all of you here, this would be nothing,” she said.
Too young to vote, the organizers asked the crowd to vote on their behalf, making their voices heard.
One powerful moment came near the end of the march, as the hundreds of gathered protesters took a knee, the protest against police violence popularized by former NFL player Colin Kaepernick.
The march was accompanied by a heavy police presence. Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham welcomed marchers, telling them that when people asked him who organized the event, it was the three teenagers.