Recent high school graduates organize peaceful George Floyd protest in Grand Blanc
(06/05/20) - Just one day after they graduated high school, a pair of Grand Blanc teenagers would lead hundreds of people on a march from the township to the Grand Blanc City Police Department.
It all started with people gathering in the Kohl's parking lot in Grand Blanc Township, each person wearing a mask and many carrying signs that pointed out racial injustice and police brutality.
The group listened as eight students talked freely about what it means to be black in America, why the Black Lives Matter movement is important, and how allies can support them.
Lyric Johnson and Kayla Shannon helped to organize the protest with the joint cooperation and support of the Grand Blanc city and township police departments, which have both publicly condemned the killing of George Floyd.
Before they started on their march, they knelt and paused for a moment of silence for Floyd and victims of police brutality. One person held up a sign that read, "How many weren't filmed?"
The group also sang happy birthday to Breonna Taylor, who would have been 27 if she had not been shot and killed by law enforcement while sleeping in her Louisville home.
They marched to the Grand Blanc City Police Department building and then engaged in more conversation with students, the diverse crowd and one another.
Grand Blanc Police Chief Brian Lipe shared some words with the people, and again took a moment to denounce the killing of Floyd. Former Flint PD chief Tim Johnson also gave remarks and commended the students for being engaged and speaking out.
"We will not stand to be supported in front of cameras and then brutalized in the streets," Kayla Shannon said.
The teens told ABC12 they are thankful to the township and city police departments for their participation as citizens and for their help with the protest.
"They have done an amazing job of pushing us forward and being very sure that they are not here to take over," Shannon said. "It is expected that police who are a part of the system would stand in support of the people who are hurt by the system that they are members of."
She wants to make sure those officers who publicly show support of the movement are sincere in doing so.
"In some states, especially states that have very prevalent cases of police brutality on a regular basis, you question if they're standing for the optics or if they're standing because they truly care about what we're here to fight for," Shannon said.
"The protest didn't stop once they reached the police department, but the group marched back to the Kohl's parking lot as they continued to chant the names of lives lost to police brutality.
"I'm definitely impressed with a lot of people in my community because I did not expect it to be this big and for people to want to support something like this," Lyric said. "I'm just really thankful that people actually care about what's going on in society."