BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — Hundreds in the Bartlesville community showed up to support the Black Lives Matter movement Friday evening.
“I felt like a community like Bartlesville could be a forerunner to show unity and peace and how it’s done properly," Lorront Carney said.
Protesters gathered at the new Tower Center at Unity Square Park to listen to multiple speakers, including Carney. He is the executive director of the Westside Community Center in Bartlesville. He said he hopes people will finally hear the message black people have been telling them for generations.
“For years, we’ve been preaching, screaming what it is that we want," Carney said. "So, now it’s time for people to take accountability of their own.”
Protest organizers said they wanted it to be the start of an open discussion and bridge a gap in the community.
“There’s so much more that you can learn from people if you’re just willing to listen," said Stizzy Gii, who organized the protest. "And what come from listening, action.”
Protesters marched and held signs, showing support for black people in their community and around the nation.
“They have to worry about being safe and protecting their lives," Christy Orphin said. "And that’s not fair. It shouldn’t be that way.”
Hoping this is just the start of change everywhere.
“For changes to happen we have to be committed," said Clent Stewart, head coach of the Bartlesville boy's basketball team. "We can’t leave it in a march. We can’t leave it in a one day thing or post on Instagram. We have to continue to work each and every day for justice. And so, I’m hoping today is just the beginning. It’s not the end.”
A second Bartlesville protest is being held Saturday at 5 p.m. Protesters will start at 2nd and Dewey and march to the Westside Community Center.
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