Speakers Share Personal Experiences at Everett BLM Protest

Up to 1,000 peaceful protesters gathered on the corners of Everett Ave. and Broadway in downtown Everett on the afternoon of Jun. 6.


Nichole Bascue

A crowd of peaceful protesters in front of the Everett Municipal Building gathered to hear from the protest’s speakers.

Up to 1,000 peaceful protesters gathered on the corners of Everett Ave. and Broadway in downtown Everett on the afternoon of Jun. 6. The crowd then marched through the city, chanting with signs and fists raised, before gathering in front of the Everett Municipal Building to hear from the protest’s speakers.

The speaker portion began with protest organizer Michael Larson asking the crowd to kneel in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in honor of George Floyd, Minneapolis police brutality victim. When the time was up Larson said, “For as uncomfortable as it was for us to take that silence, it was nothing compared to what George Floyd went through and the pain he faced before his death.”

Then keynote speakers Everett Community College President Dr. Daria J. Willis and Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Eric Z. Lucas gave insight into casual racism through personal anecdotes, choosing people over policy and the need to vote to make lasting a difference.

The list of student demands from the Black Student Union at Everett High School directed to the school board. (Courtesy of Everett High School’s Black Student Union)

Speaker Ashley Smith, an educator with the Edmonds School district, encircled by fellow protesters continued the trend by sharing her personal experiences of racism and the effects of being underrepresented in school. She then took things one step further by using her time to read off the Everett Black Student Union’s list of demands to address racial inequality inside the school district. Near the end of her speech she asked all students in the crowd who were black to come to the front, telling the protesters this was not a moment but a movement. Smith then led the students in an empowerment chant. She invited any of those students to use their voice and share how racism has affected their lives. Many of them did.

The program ended with a calling for “all hands on deck” and a prayer from Rev. Paul Stoot of Everett’s Greater Trinity church. Smith had black students lead the protest back towards Everett Ave. and Broadway. On the way, a rainbow emerged from the stormy sky.

Larson, along with organizers John Wilson and Gabe Maggio had only days to organize the event, with Larson calling it a success. Peacekeepers were strategically placed throughout the crowd in order to curb potential acts of violence or aggression. The Everett Police Department worked with the organizers to ensure safety and close roads to traffic as needed. 

Health was also taken into consideration and protesters were asked to bring masks and gloves to protect against potential exposure to COVID-19. Larson understood if some supporters stayed home to avoid exposure. “Safety is no accident. We definitely were fearful about having something like this be a potential risk for many people. I commend the people who came out willing to make that risk knowing the greater context of what is happening in the rest of the country and the change that needs to be happening,” Larson said. 

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