PARKLAND, FL- Change the Ref, the organization founded by the parents of Joaquin Oliver, held a peaceful protest supporting Black Lives Matter on Saturday afternoon. Oliver, who lost his life in the Stoneman Douglas tragedy, was an active supporter in the battle against racial injustice in America.
Around 100 people gathered on the corner of the Stoneman Douglas campus at the intersection of Holmberg and Pine Island to show solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement. The group rallied with chants of "'Black Lives Matter,' 'no justice, no peace, no racist police,' and 'say her name- Breonna Taylor."
"We love America. We just want America to love us back," Mike Howell of BLM Alliance Broward.
"I wanted to participate to honor the many lives lost to police brutality. It's important to keep saying their names until justice is served," said Florida Atlantic sophomore Alicia Gorney-Duncan.
As supporters came together, a group from Back the Blue counter protested across the street in response to the Change the Ref and Black Lives Matter march.
The group then marched to Pine Trails Park, where a number of local residents and marchers spoke about the need for racial equality in America.
"If you are aware of racial injustices taking place and actively choose to remain silent, you are upholding white supremacy," said Hannah Karcinell, a 2018 Stoneman Douglas graduate.
"Our duty as parents is to continue Joaquin's legacy," said Manuel Oliver, Founder of Change the Ref.
The march and protest were peaceful, and provided a platform and opportunity for local residents to unite together in support of equality.
Brandon Dasent, a 2019 MSD graduate and Founder of the organization Breathe summed up the event, saying "Let's band together and come to holistic solutions to end racial injustice. Not just in our country, but right here in Parkland."
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