After a full week of protests, tear gas, remembrance, and solemn vigils, one Saturday event in Asheville continued the call for justice.
Organizers held a full day of remembrance of Black lives lost to police violence, starting with a march on downtown Asheville, June 6.
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Early in the afternoon, hundreds gathered in front of the Asheville Police Department, addressing city leaders, including Police Chief David Zack.
They asked for accountability and made demands, like stopping additional funding to the police department and instead, using that money for education, mental health, and city transit. These are all things organizers say can better benefit Asheville’s Black community.
Chief Zack addressed the crowd, acknowledging the responsibility he holds as a leaders.
"Words don't heal people, words don't make things better," Zack declared. "What makes things better is when a community sees change. One man, one woman can't do it. But, each of us, we just have to do our part. And I came here to do mine."
After speaking with the chief, protesters left the police department, marching to the Buncombe County Courthouse, where more people spoke to the crowd. Demonstrators then made their way to Martin Luther King Jr Park and then back downtown.
At 5 p.m., thousands filled the park for the vigil, held in remembrance of Black lives lost to police brutality.
It started off with live music and ended with several speakers sharing personal stories and advice for the white community.
“The vigil itself is just amazing, just having a nice, quiet space to hear stories of all different age groups and stuff. It’s just amazing," Sean Dean said. "The music in the beginning, it’s kind of like it’s been a stressful couple of weeks and everyone’s kind of tired, but it got us moving and got us excited and I thought it was beautiful."
The City of Asheville announced on Saturday that the following intersections would be closed starting at 3 p.m. in order to support the continuing protests:
- Market & College, Broadway & College, Lexington & Patton, and Biltmore & Aston
The event's schedule is described below:
March in Memory of Black Lives Lost to Police Violence
- 11 a.m. - Gathering begins at the YMI Cultural Center
- 12 p.m. - March begins
Candlelight Vigil in Memory of Black Lives Lost to Police Violence
- Saturday, June 6, Pack Square, 5 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
- 5 p.m. - Live music
- 6 p.m. Black Asheville Story Circle
- 6:30 p.m. Silence
- 7:15 p.m. - Prayer/meditation
- 7:30 p.m. - Conclusion
- 8 p.m. - Curfew