Close to 200 rally in Georgetown for social equality

Tahara Johnson and Georgetown Police Chief R.L. Hughes kneel in solidarity during the remembrance of George Floyd, the man who died May 25 in custody of Minneapolis Police, Wednesday evening during the peaceful protest on The Circle. Ms. Johnson was the organizer of the event, which drew well over 100 participants. Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe

GEORGETOWN — Drivers honked horns.

Attendees raised signs and sang chants.

And for several minutes, close to 200 in attendance took a knee, recalling George Floyd’s final minutes of life at the hands and knee of a Minneapolis policeman.

Peaceful protest seeking social equality and an end to racial injustice continued Wednesday evening on The Circle in Georgetown, the latest public gathering following the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody. Rallies have been held across the state since the weekend.

“I’d like to think of it as more of a peaceful gathering, just to come out here and lend support to the voices that are being heard around the world to end racism, to let everybody know that black lives matter. And that’s not a negative thing,” said Dagsboro resident Sharon Smith, who attended the event with her husband Frank Smith.

Her hope is these “protests” will precipitate “change not only in America but all around the world, just to bring equality for everybody, for all mankind no matter what your skin color is.”

With bullhorn in hand, Georgetown community member Lawrence Walston addresses the public gathering on The Circle Wednesday calling for social equality and the end to racial injustice.

“I’m here because I have four black stepsons,” said Mr. Smith. “I love our police here, but I don’t believe they (blacks) are treated equally, anywhere in the United States where I have been. Black Americans are not treated the same. I think civil liberty should be taught in the police department and in the schoolhouses. They stopped that in 1960s.”

Georgetown resident Tahara Johnson, the event’s organizer, said the goal of the peaceful gathering Wednesday was to “share our message, to have everyone come together as one for the cause and try to fight the inequality that makes up our system. Hopefully we can make some policy changes to make the system better. The system is broken – definitely.”

“We want to be heard,” said Ms. Johnson, who will be a senior at Delaware State University in Dover this fall. “Lawmakers, we can vote for them, the ones that want to make change, put them in office to start making progress and fix the system that is broken.”

Amid frequent honking horns, attendees chanted the likes of “No justice, no peace,” “Let’s not forget,” “Say his name … George Floyd” and “I can’t breathe.”

Georgetown resident Lawrence Walston, among those who spoke publicly at the event, said the problem is not just “about racism. It’s classism. It’s based on class.”

Attendees on The Circle at Wednesday’s peaceful protest of racial injustice take a knee, recalling the final minutes of George Floyd’s life while in custody of Minneapolis police.

“My kids wanted to come, and especially with my kids being biracial, so we put a lot of it on both sides and try to get an understanding,” Mr. Walston said. “You can just feel the tension. And that’s hard. I want them to understand that we can make a difference, but we’ve got to be able to vocalize what we feel. So, I lead by example.”

Several officers from the Georgetown Police Department were on hand, including Georgetown Police Chief R.L. Hughes, who took a knee in a show of solidarity.

By the rally’s six o’clock start time, more than 100 people had assembled around The Circle. The crowd grew to nearly double that volume.

“I didn’t have a goal,” said Ms. Johnson of attendance. “If I was here by myself that was okay, to get the message across.”