High school students organize protest in Appleton, hundreds attend
Protests across the country following the death of George Floyd continue nationwide. Saturday in Appleton a Black Lives Matter protest was held. A group of area high school students organized another protest on Sunday.
At one point during the event, the protesters laid in front of the Outagamie County Courthouse, mimicking the video that shows George Floyd's last moments before he died at the hands of a police officer.
"I couldn't even finish it,” said Kala Lones, who attended to protest. “It's like seeing your uncle, your cousin, like that could've been anyone in my family and knowing that, that was too much for me."
"I was repulsed,” said Faith Roska, one of the co-organizers. “I can't believe that first of all that that happened, and second of all that those three other officers just sat and watched it happen."
The video prompted the students to organize the Sunday protest, which had hundreds of people marching through downtown Appleton and rallying for justice at Houdini Plaza.
"I wanted to do something about it and I just didn't want to stay in my room and post on Instagram,” said Jeff Messer, another co-organizer. “I wanted to take an active stand against police brutality and racism in America."
"I'm sick of seeing people who look like me die every day,” said Roska. “It's been too long to keep sweeping it under the rug and waiting for the next one to happen."
"We need to shine the spotlight and we need to pass the microphone to communities whose voices have not been heard in America,” said Messer.
The young organizers and participants are hoping this activism now will lead to a better future.
"It's 2020, there's no reason that these things are still happening,” said Roska.
"I hope that, however many years from now, my kids don't have to come out here and do the same thing my momma was doing, that my grandmamma was doing, and that generations before me have been doing,” said Lones. “It has been a long time coming now."
Though they are taking a generations-long fight onto their shoulders, they find hope in all the people who are showing up in support.
"I hope, right now, that everybody can hear us, they can see us, and they can know that we are not standing for this no more," said Lones.
"Everybody's sick of it. Everybody is so sick of it and you can tell, like, there are people here of all ages, colors, backgrounds, and we're ready to see things change,” said Roska.