Demonstrations protesting police brutality and the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police continue in Cincinnati and its suburbs.
People gathered at Madison Park near Withrow High School Friday afternoon to march through Oakley and Hyde Park. Organizer Josiah Seurkamp said he chose those locations to appeal to two different audiences.
"I realize that there's a lot of people in these neighborhood that want change, that aren't given many opportunities to speak up about it and I feel like having a protest in these neighborhoods are going to give those people a voice," he said. "And then show the people that don't understand and don't know there's a problem -- or, are afraid to accept that there's a problem -- that there is an issue and they're going to have to deal with it very soon."
Seurkamp said he got some pushback for putting the words "bring the pressure to the white neighborhoods" on his flyer. Both neighborhoods are 86% white, according to data from the website AreaVibes.
"It's a really interesting response," he told WVXU. "To care more about somebody's wording than the fact that there is a whole system that has been murdering people for centuries is a really interesting thing to me."
Speakers included longtime local activist Iris Roley and 18-year-old Santino Jordan, who told the crowd the day's theme is community and peace. "Because this stuff is not going to change if we don't work together," he said. "I know we're out here yelling 'black lives matter' and saying the names of the people who have been unjustly killed, but one of the things I like to hammer home whenever talking about this is that fighting for black lives today is a solid investment for all lives tomorrow."
The group was largely made up of young adults and families with young children. That gave a sense of hope to Nichelle Bolden, a teacher at Withrow High School. "We're history in the making," she said. "There's no better object lesson than to be part of something that's much larger than yourself and particularly at this time - and we are living in a very unprecedented time. ... I'm proud. This generation gives me so much hope -- so much hope."
As demonstrators marched down Madison Road, a few older people, as well as a young woman with a baby on her hip, stepped outside to raise a fist. Many drivers – and one Metro bus driver – honked their horns as a show of solidarity.
The Metro driver was a black woman, and that struck demonstrator Tina Hubert, who pushed two children in a stroller as she marched. "There's been a lot of discouragement lately but it made me realize that we have come somewhere since the civil rights movement," she said, mentioning Rosa Parks. "It was symbolic to me that there is hope for the future."
This was the first of a handful of protests planned this weekend in the suburbs, including one tonight in Pleasant Ridge and another on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Mariemont.