Twenty people stood along Florida Avenue at Main Street this afternoon and held signs calling for racial justice in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

They initially gathered at Munn Park, where they made their posters and at 3 p.m. they walked one block to Florida Avenue.

There they spread out on both sides of the road holding up their signs. Many drivers passing by honked in support.

The signs carried messages like:

  • “Say his name. George Floyd.”
  • “Tell a black man you love him today.”
  • “Racism is a white issue. We must intercede. No more George Floyds.”
  • “Our differences make us strong.”
  • “Pro black isn’t anti white.”
  • “No words — justice!” on a poster with large photos of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot and killed while jogging in a south Georgia neighborhood.

The protesters had been asked to stay coronavirus-safe by wearing masks and staying six feet apart, and for the most part they did.

The protest was organized by Democratic Socialists of America Polk County. Most of the signs were reflections on the killing of Floyd, but the group was also pushing for increased release of prisoners to protect them against COVID 19, according to AmyLee Lawrence, who organized today’s event.

Saturday’s event was affiliated with nationwide protests called by the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Lawrence said.

The group plans to reassemble at Munn Park Sunday at 1 and join a protest organized by Black Lives Matter.

This morning, about 50 Lakeland residents held a silent sit-in at New Life Outreach Ministry Center at Kathleen Road and 5th Street.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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    1. I’m assuming you meant media-driven. I don’t see how this event could be considered media-driven. To my knowledge, they didn’t inform media that they were doing it. At least LkldNow wasn’t notified; we saw it on social media and decided to check it out. And they actually seemed surprised that we were there. They had already created the signs and were about to move to Florida Avenue when we got to Munn Park. The protest would have happened whether media was there or not.

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