Martin rallies behind Black Lives Matter

MARTIN, TN -- Organizers gathered in front of the C.E. Weldon Public Library in Martin on Friday to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

However, a lone woman lead the charge.

Jewelia Hazelwood went out on Thursday to make her statement. Her sign read "a death sentence without a fair trial is a violation of constitutional rights." Her shirt read "BLACK LIVES MATTER."

"[Police brutality] a national issue. It's a social issue. That makes it a local issue, and it was time for somebody to say something," says Hazelwood.

Hazelwood says she was nervous to get out of her car on Thursday. She was scared that her statement wouldn't go over well. After she protested alone Thursday, though, other Martin residents joined her.

One of them was Joyce Washington. Since Washington became aware of Hazelwood's actions, she was dedicated to the cause.

Washington says that she is a mother of a young black man, and she is tired of living in fear for his and her own life. Washington says that the killing of unarmed people of color by police officers is modern-day lynching.

"Whether they did something or not, you don't deserve to be executed, lynched like that. I don't care what you did. You're entitled to a fair trial," says Washington.

When Washington came out Friday, she brought extra posters and markers so that anyone joining last-minute could make a statement. She says that she is encouraged by the protesters' courage.

Since Thursday's and Friday's events, Washington, Hazelwood and other protesters are organizing the movement on Facebook. They use the platform to collaborate on when they'll rally and march.

The schedule has also been shared on personal Instagram accounts and on Snapchat.

After Floyd's death, rallies began first in Minnesota and then all over the country and now the world. The Black Lives Matter movement has spread to small, rural towns.

The group plans to organize again on Thursday and Friday 11:30 - 2:00 and Saturday 8 -10. They ask protesters to remain six feet apart, wear masks and bring hand sanitizer. They also ask participants to remain on the sidewalks and remain peaceful and kind.

You can see their guidelines on Facebook.


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