Natchez residents take to streets Saturday for peaceful protest

Published 1:06 pm Saturday, June 6, 2020

NATCHEZ — Natchez residents upset about violence and especially last week’s killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers took to the streets of Natchez again Saturday carrying signs and chanting slogans such as “No justice, no peace.”

Approximately 100 people participated in Saturday’s event organized by Robert Bates and Brandon Curtis who also organized a similar march on Wednesday that drew approximately 60 participants.

Bates said after Wednesday’s event, people contacted him via social media saying they were sorry they did not know about Wednesday’s event and would have liked to have been able to participate. So, he and Curtis organized another event.

“Over 100 people reached out wanting to be a part of it,” Bates said before Saturday’s march that began shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday. “Everyone has concerns about violence, not just Floyd but in the local community as well.”

Participant Jacquie Marsaw said she believes peaceful protests will help people realized the impact of violence.

“It (violence) has affected so many people, especially young black people,” Marsaw said.

Jonn Butler participated in Wednesday’s march and was back Saturday, she said, because the message was resonating in the community.

“Everybody needs to love everybody and come together,” Butler said. “Love one another. All lives matter.”

Kenya White said she was protesting not just violence but racial inequities in sentencing within the justice system.

“It is making a difference,” White said of nationwide protests that have been taking place the past week in response to video of Floyd being killed by an officer kneeling on his neck.

As protesters marched by, Ser Sheshab Heter-C.M. Boxley sat on the sidewalk holding an African American Liberation Flag. He stood up and raised a black power fist.

“I’m reliving my 1960s,” Boxley said. “It will make no difference. It is just a way of venting.”

Boxley said he participated in similar protests after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. The protests and venting, as Boxley called it, made people feel better but the problem persisted. “The next day, it was back.”

Holly Gee, who participated in Saturday’s march, however, said she believes recent protests will bring a change.

“I want to be a part of the change,” Gee said. “We’ve had enough.”