6 Teenage Girls Spearheaded a Protest of 10K People in Nashville: We Must 'Make a Difference'
“I wanted the people in Nashville to know that we could feel that anger sooner or later if we didn’t do something to stop police brutality,” co-organizer Zee Thomas said
Thousands of people flooded the streets of Nashville last week for a massive protest against police brutality and racism — and it’s all thanks to a group of six teenage girls ready to change the world.
More than 10,000 people marched through the city on June 4 in what The Tennessean called the area’s “largest protest against racism and police brutality in recent memory.”
The march was organized by a group of six activists aged 14-16 who are now making their voices heard with the launch of Teens4Equality.
Zee Thomas, 15, got the ball rolling with a tweet on May 27 that said she would spearhead a Nashville protest (if her mom said yes), following the lead of those protesting in Minneapolis, where 46-year-old George Floyd died after an officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes.
“I wanted the people in Nashville to know that we could feel that anger sooner or later if we didn’t do something to stop police brutality,” Thomas told the Washington Post’s The Lily.
Her tweet soon drew the attention of Jade Fuller and Nya Collins, as well as their friends Emma Rose Smith, Kennedy Green and Mikayla Smith. Together, before ever meeting in person, the group launched Teens4Equality, and worked with the local Black Lives Matter chapter to get their protest off the ground.
On the morning of the protest, the group met in person for the first time at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, and led their massive lineup of protesters past the National Museum of African American History on to the state capitol, The Tennessean reported.
Prior to marching, each girl took a moment to address the crowd, and tell them what the protest meant to them, according to The Lily.
“As teens, we are tired of waking up and seeing another innocent person being slain in broad daylight. As teens, we are tired of waking up and seeing another innocent person being slain in broad daylight,” Thomas said. “As teens, we are desensitized to death because we see videos of black people being killed in broad daylight circulating on social media platforms. As teens, we feel like we cannot make a difference in this world, but we must.”
The protest reportedly lasted about five hours, and was entirely peaceful. Photos captured by photographer Alex Kent show the large group holding large signs supporting the cause.
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With one successful event in the books, Teens4Equality is already planning an exciting future, including a protest on the Fourth of July which will provide voter registration for attendees.
“We’re going to be dedicating our time to this to make sure things actually happen,” Thomas told The Lily. “I want people to know that things will change, and things will be better in the future.”
Nashville's march was one of thousands across the country that have emerged in light of Floyd's death on May 25.
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
• ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.