Mill Creek students stage peaceful protest for racial justice
Protests and marches continue to pop up in even the smallest of Washington cities in response to the death of George Floyd, including Mill Creek.
The small town saw a crowd of 150 to 200 school-age kids chant and encourage cars to honk in support of their peaceful protest Tuesday. The crowd was made up almost entirely of kids from local high schools and middle schools.
The event was organized by the kids from the community, and pulled together over Snapchat and other social media.
This was the first ever protest for high school junior Daniel Jenkins. He said he feels a responsibility to try and change society.
“When you look on the news, you see a lot of adults,” Jenkins said. “The youth have a lot to say. This is us. We are taking what you have handed down to us, and I think it’s important that we take it and do what we can with it and make it better.”
For classmate Keyshon Rife, this was also his first protest. At some point, he grabbed the small megaphone the crowd had and started leading chants.
“It’s very empowering to be out here and seeing all these people come together and to be able to speak what we’re speaking and seeing all of our fellow (police) officers out here protecting us and making sure we’re all safe,” he said. “My heart is filled — I can’t ask for anything more than this.”
Mill Creek Police did a little traffic control to keep the kids safe. They also mingled with the crowd and answered questions.
The crowd actually marched around the Mill Creek Town Center before camping out at one main intersection for most of the afternoon. Some of the local businesses actually closed because they were afraid of violence, but violence is the one thing kids like Rife have no interest in.
“It’s going to take us young kids, starting now,” he said. “I can’t speak for your generation or on how we’re going to change it, but it starts with us getting into people’s minds that this is right and this is wrong. We’re going to spread the love. That’s all it is.”
One of the coolest moments of this protest came early in the event. The kids gathered in the McDonald’s parking lot and shared their life stories with the group. They talked about their struggles. Jenkins said it really made an impact on him.
“We were talking about family and how we’re all family,” he said. “Let me tell me you my experiences.’ ‘You tell me yours.’ I feel like the more connected we are as a community the better we are going to be as we grow up and become those people that have that power to make change.”
The kids say they’ll be back out Thursday at 12 p.m., and hope to have an even bigger crowd.