MIAMI – One of the largest groups to have gathered in the continuing Black Lives Matter protests in Miami began its march in Wynwood on Friday afternoon and was working its way through downtown to try to get onto a major South Florida causeway. Florida Highway Patrol and Miami-Dade police have blocked off the entrance to Julia Tuttle Causeway in an effort to keep protesters from disrupting traffic.
Last Saturday, a group of protesters shut down the same area when they stopped traffic on I-95. They also vandalized some highway signs.
Some of Friday’s group did begin heading back toward Biscayne Boulevard, but the stand off was still happening around 7 p.m. and the large group hasn’t all left the vicinity of the highway.
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The group of many hundreds began the protest Friday afternoon around 4 p.m. in Wynwood near Panther coffee. They began the protest at the location on NW 2nd Ave. in an homage to the Black Panthers.
The protest flyer invited people to “bring a friend, plenty of water, a sign and wear a mask" as a show of solidarity for Justice for George Floyd and “all the lives taken by police brutality.”
More people have joined in along the way. Made up of educators, parents, policy advocates, and people of all colors, ages, and all walks of life, the group said they will continue marching because they want their voices to be heard. A pamphlet handed out by The Dream Defenders, had three words that summarize the feeling that was pervasive: “We deserve better,” they say.
Meet Ralphnie Bryant and her two sons Tyler (9yo) & Alfred (12yo). “We’re still a work in progress, that we have not arrived and that racism is not dead and it is still very prevalent in our communities and very much in the mothers’ hearts who have to raise young black children.” pic.twitter.com/EkrOxqOFf4— Christina Vazquez (@CBoomerVazquez) June 5, 2020
Ralphnie Bryant was among the group Friday. She said: "I want to show my children that no matter what happens that you can stand for the right thing.
Christina Saint Louis is a teacher. “As a teacher, being here is going to be the best lessons for my students. I can always tell them that their teacher was here. She stood for something. She stood for what was right,” said Saint Louis.
Another message was that people should get out and vote and not only on a national level, but locally. One man said: “That’s where it affects us.”