RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Thousands marched through the streets of Richmond today for Virginia’s 5000 Man March, a demonstration for Black Lives Matter.
The group that organized the event said on their Facebook page that they were marching, “For your children… the black, the white, the tan, the pink, the yellow, and the blue. Because in this great state, no matter the color. Virginia is for lovers.
“For #BLM because Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean your life doesn’t matter, it just means ours are in danger.”
One Richmonder at the event told 8News, “I never thought I’d see this in Richmond. Not in the Capital of the confederate.”
Church Hill resident Barbara Temple took her family to the march, including her 16-year-old son. “He has that same mentality that a lot of teenagers have – that ‘it wouldn’t happen to me,'” said Temple.
“He can see first hand other people’s feelings and experiences and why they’re out here, and what’s important to them.”
The event started at the Robert E. Lee Monument, on Monument Avenue, at 1 p.m. The group then headed to W. Broad Street where they marched west before looping back to Monument Avenue and eventually ending the route at the monument where the event began.
The scene at the Robert E. Lee Monument included food trucks, tents and bands set up around the area.
Shortly after 2 p.m., the group at the Lee monument heard from speakers including Tavares Floyd, George Floyd’s cousin and Richmond native.
Event organizer Triston Harris says that he was inspired to plan this event by the now-viral video of George Floyd’s death while in custody of Minneapolis Police.
“You can’t be a human being and watch that video and not feel some type of humanity,” said Harris.
Organizers said anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 people attended the protest, including Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.
“This is no longer the Capital of the Confederacy. This will be the capitol of compassion.” Mayor Stoney told 8News. “The capitol for love. The capitol for justice. That’s what we need.”