PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – The movement taking place on our streets is largely a youth movement. That could be seen from Pembroke Pines to Hollywood to Davie on Wednesday afternoon.
A peaceful student-led sit-in in the courtyard of Pembroke Pines’ city center was largely made up of students from the Somerset Arts Conservatory — many of whom had just graduated virtually that morning.
“We’re graduating, and that’s a beautiful moment, but this happening around us is much bigger than anything we’re going through right now,” said Jada Woullard, one of the students. “Lives are at stake, and no matter what part of our lives we’re in, we need to be saying something, we need to be acting and we need to be out here demanding change from the people who can actually bring that change.”
They took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in memory of George Floyd, who was killed when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for that long.
The students spoke of dedicating the next chapter of their lives to making change.
In Davie, another young crowd of about 100 left Tree Tops Park and marched to the Davie Police Department, where the group stopped and sat outside the headquarters.
They then began to share their own stories of racial injustice and police brutality, all while officers looked on. The police chief came out at one point to thank the crowd for their peacefulness.
“We decided we’re going to come here, we’re going to talk to the police and have our voices heard,” said one of the student demonstrators named Jayla. “We’re tired of the injustice, and it’s time that we speak up as loud as we can.”
Asked about it being a predominantly young group, she said: “The younger generation – this is our time. This is our world and this is our America, and we don’t like it.”
Earlier in Hollywood, near South Broward High School, a small group showed their support for the movement despite rain falling on them.
On Tuesday, a peaceful protest organized by two teenage students took place in Coral Springs, and another march happened near Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise.
County commissioners met Tuesday and discussed ways that they can respond to the message sent loudly by the community through these protests.
Meanwhile, Broward on Wednesday announced that it was lifting its countywide 9 p.m. curfew that had been in place each night since the unrest Sunday in downtown Fort Lauderdale.