NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — Peaceful protests took place in R.I. and southeastern Mass. on Saturday, including one held in Newport.
Hundreds gathered at Miantonomi Park around noon, then marched the Newport Courthouse, spreading the Black Lives Matter message.
The two sisters who organized the event said protests need to continue for change to happen.
“It’s a start, this is just the beginning but noise is being made,” Makalah Chapman said.
“It’s a tale of two towns, it really is. We don’t like going down there by ourselves and people aren’t comfortable coming here. That’s important to me to blend the two,” Lanier Chapman
The Chapman’s said Newport police and the city were helpful in organizing the event and supplied the stage and sound equipment.
Newport Mayor Jamie Bova said she fully supports the movement.
“Using our officers they are going to be helping to block traffic so marchers can safely march. So while it is a first amendment right to protest we want to make sure we aren’t just looking at it from that perspective. We are looking at it from being supportive and whatever we have available to make it as best as it can be,” Bova said.
This is the third weekend of protests in Rhode Island since the death of George Floyd on May 25.
“We’re dying everyday. George Floyd wasn’t the beginning of when we started dying it just got the attention we needed. I hope they keep these protests going everyday, every week until noise is really being made, especially in Newport. We grew up here and there is a lot of racism in this town as well,” Makalah Champman said.
Mayor Bova said she is dedicated to listening to the community and looks forward to making systemic changes to better Newport.