By Tabitha D. James
In response to the death of George Floyd and other national racial tension, a group of young people decided to organize and plan a peaceful protest in Lake View, South Carolina. The goal was to not only bring awareness to what is happening nationally, but also to what happens in our backdoor. Hannah Bethea, Grayson McQueen and Carson Sanderson were the leaders of this effort. Along with support from the community, June 13th was a success.
Hannah Bethea shared, “ I am happy to say that the Lake View community came together and took the first step into making a difference in our town. I do not think that after today that things will automatically change. That was not my goal, my goal was to take a step in the right direction, to give people a chance to use their voice, and to be themselves, no matter their race.”
Collectively, the group wanted to see the community come together and hear the concerns of #blacklivesmatter and how important it is. At 11 AM, a group of over 100 people gathered and walked from the Lake View Rec to the Lake View Community Center (approximately 1 mile). Once the group arrived at the community center, a short program took place featuring inspiring and insightful speeches.
Grayson McQueen shared, “Saturday definitely exceeded my expectations! The amount of support our community showed truly touched me and I am proud to say I was a part of planning the event. We know change doesn’t happen overnight but we have to start somewhere! We will continue to use our voices and stand up for what we believe in. June 13th will always be an important day to me and I’m beyond excited for our future events we are planning!”
Event speakers included, Matthew Elvington (Lake View Mayor), Darius Leonard (NFL Player, LV Native), Merits Barnett (Lake View Town Council), Joshua (Pastor of First Baptist Church – Lake View), Anthony Ford (Local Minister – Union AME Church), Jason E. Turner (Chief of Police – Lake View) , and Wayne Green Sr. (Local Leader).
A common theme from the speakers was for those assembled to hear the narratives of others, especially those facing injustice. Furthermore, inspiration was given for young people to keep pressing forward no matter what anyone says while creating a mindset of their own.
Carson Sanderson shared, “I was very happy about the way it turned out. I’m so glad I saw this many people being supportive of the black lives matter movement. I am very passionate about speaking on what I believe in and what’s right. I want the world to become a better place to raise future generations.”
This is only the beginning for the No Longer Silenced movement and events hosted by this group. More details are to come; in the meantime, it is the collective responsibility for everyone to promote unity, inclusion and progression for our community.