KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Marchers gathered to stand for equality both north and south of the river on Sunday. Southeast Kansas City and Parkville had marches of their own. Protesters said bringing people together with a message is the first step toward change.
Unity Southeast Kansas City has been holding a march each Sunday, and plans for them to continue.
“It’s great to be a part of national movements, but we have to take care of home, and we know there are some things happening at home that just aren’t right,” organizer, Crystal Wilson said.
Protesters stood for eight minutes and forty-six seconds on a bridge to remember George Floyd. That’s how long Minneapolis police pinned Floyd to the ground last month before he died. Each protester held their breath for as long as they could, and could only say — ‘I can’t breathe.’
“It was very powerful to have us hold our breath, and the only way that we could get our breath was to say ‘I can’t breathe.’ For eight minutes and forty six seconds, so that was powerful. I teared up to be honest,” protester, Rachel Hudson said.
North of Kansas City, in Parkville, they had a march of their own. Even Police Chief, Kevin L. Chrisman, marched with the group for unity.
“With the march for unity I tell you what, who else — we’re better together than we are apart,” Chief Chrisman said. “This is a start of something new, but yet we are pretty strong here in the city. I’m excited to move forward.”
Platte County deputies handed out popsicles while protesters talked about why Black lives matter. 12-year-old Brooklyn Verdi came to the march with her mom and sister.
“I’m glad for all the people that are here to celebrate black lives matter. It makes me feel really proud and happy to be who I am right now as a person,” Verdi said.
Emmanuel Akesseh immigrated to the United States from Ghana. He says when he heard about a march for unity he knew he had to be a part of the rally.
“It’s high time we come together as one because — not because of the color, but we are the same human beings. We should love ourselves, and help each other,” Akesseh said.
They believe coming together in support can push change forward. Chief Chrisman says he felt it was important officers, especially him, come out and walk for their message of unity.