”Peaceful disruption” was a theme reflected in Thursday evening’s protest against racial injustice and police brutality at Boone County Courthouse.

A group of about 40 marched from there to Hickman High School. They lay down near the school parking lot for eight minutes and 46 seconds in memory of George Floyd.

Sterling Brown spoke to the crowd and brought up the concept of “peaceful disruption.”

“Disruptions get attention,” Brown said. “Communities pay attention when those disruptions come from within ... when they are peaceful disruptions that they don’t destroy property or don’t put a stain or put someone in the community at a loss for anything.”

He called for people continuously having their voices heard, being consistent and maintaining that their message is righteous.

Brown brought his three children with him and said he tried to come to the protests as often as he can.

“I tend to put my voice in the public sphere, in particular about issues that affect me and my family and my children directly,” he said.

“So I have the obligation to do what I’m not afraid to do in order to help. I’m not afraid to broadcast the message,” Brown said. “I’m not afraid to ask tough questions. And I’m not afraid to challenge people with challenging material.”

Kelsey Smythe has been to at least nine protests. She brought her 6-year-old son Cormack Smythe with her Thursday. She said she’s trying to instill good values of empathy and passion in children, as well as consciousness of how society is to people of color because they are disenfranchised.

Smythe said showing up consistently is important.

“We’re trying to get our City Council and our police to start making changes for the better. And they’re still slow in coming like most of the country,” she said.

“So we’re keeping that pressure on them to letting them know that we haven’t forgotten,” Smythe said. “We’re still waiting.”

Imari Perrigo said this is the eighth protest she attended with her husband and daughter. “I just want to be another face, another voice that’s heard,” she said.

“I was asking, are we getting tired? Of course we’re getting tired,” Perrigo added. “But like we are not stopping until we see something happen.”

Despite smaller numbers of attendees, Perrigo said she would keep coming. “We started off with so many people. I just want to keep adding to the people. We all just need to come out here, showing our faces.”

Abby Smith, who comes to the protests every night, said it’s important to show persistence on seeking change.

“I totally understand why numbers are dwindling because it’s hard to come out every night,” Smith said, “But we hope to see more people, especially we’re gonna try and do more of like specific events.”

Smith said she hopes to see reform in police training, especially regarding the uses of police force and how they deal with people who have mental health problems.

She called for reallocating more police budgets to social services, “so that when there’s a call of someone who is having like a suicidal moment or something like that, we could send social workers to like talk them down who are trained for that instead of police officers with guns, which is not really what you need in that moment.”

  • General reporter, summer 2020 | Studying documentary journalism | Reach me at tzg3d@mail.missouri.edu

  • As senior editor of the Missourian, Fred Anklam manages general assignment reporters. He can be reached at anklamf@missouri.edu or in the newsroom at 573-882-5720.

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