DOUGLAS — Douglas residents showed their support for George Floyd, who was recently killed while being taken into police custody, during a Black Lives Matter peaceful protest on June 4.
The crowd, that was small to begin with and then suddenly ballooned in size reaching an estimated 150 people, chanted “no justice, no peace,” and “If you don’t stand up, if you don’t speak up, you are part of the problem,” as they marched from the Veteran’s Memorial on 16th Street and Pan American down to G Avenue, over to City Hall and back to the memorial before later going on another walk along G Avenue and back to the memorial, dispersing just prior to the 8 p.m. curfew put in place by Governor Doug Ducey.
The rally was put together by some Douglas High School students who took the initiative and were soon joined by others wanting to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Aaliyah Montoya, a former reporter with the Douglas Dispatch, was one of the main voices speaking at the protest.
“We are here today to show our support,” she said. “I’m really bothered by all that has happened lately. It feels like we have this huge issue. We continue to see unarmed black men being assaulted or racially profiled. I’m tired of it.”
Montoya stated she was pleased with the response shown by the local youth at the protest.
“This shows we do stand in solidarity with others throughout America,” she said. “Douglas is not racist. Douglas does not tolerate racism. I think this is a great example of this community showing that.”
Jazmyn Romero, however, stated she has been victimized by racism in Douglas.
“Racism is an issue especially here in Douglas,” she said. “I have been called Chinese on more than one occasion. Those types of things affect us. But we’re trying to make a difference as we stand here today. I’m so proud of everyone standing here. I didn’t think this many people would show up”
‘I’m here to support the African American community to stop police brutality,” Eagle Scout Tino Montano said. “I want people to know that I’m here representing the Latino community and we stand together with the Black Lives Matter movement. We’re doing all that we can by any means necessary to get our point across. We want everyone to know they need to listen to the message that we are saying that this type of treatment has to stop.”
Mark Adams, of the Frontera de Cristo, a Presbyterian border ministry located in the sister cities of Agua Prieta, Sonora and Douglas, was also in attendance. He stated on Facebook, “Grateful to stand with the young leaders of Douglas standing for love, hope, unity, diversity and change and standing against racism. Grateful for being able to be with young Douglas leaders manifesting in favor of love, esperanza, unity, diversity and change and against racism.”
Douglas Police Chief Kraig Fullen said afterwards he appreciated the manner in which those protesting did so.
“Actions, in my view, speak louder than words,” he said. “It was nice to see them express their rights in a peaceful manner.”
Several DPD officers were in the distance at the protest assisting with traffic control as the group crossed the streets when needed but other than that allowed those at the protest to express their concerns in the Black Lives Matter movement that is sweeping the nation.