Peaceful protests in Joplin calling for change

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JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin community is standing in solidarity with protesters across the nation.

There were two peaceful protests: one to bring awareness to Black Lives Matter and the other for George Floyd, a black man who died at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

Floyd begged for his life, telling officers “I can’t breathe”.

Event organizers say it is time to be heard.

“We’re here to make a difference and nothings going to change if we just sit and be silent. So we have to be heard.” says protester Geralyn Russell.

Outrage over the death of George Floyd spreads from Minneapolis to cities across the nation, including Joplin.

“I just want everyone to realize what’s been happening for years and years, and decades,” says Rusell.

Protesters stood peacefully at 7th and Rangeline, holding signs and chanting, “Say his name, George Floyd. Say his name, George Floyd!”

Calling attention to the death of 46-year-old Georgia Floyd–an unarmed black man who died in the custody of Minneapolis police Monday.

“My shirt is to symbolize the life that was lost George Floyd, he deserves justice,” says Russell.

Two miles down the road, another protest, this one in front of Joplin City Hall.

“Whenever you take a life, it’s just wrong and so I think just because it didn’t happen here doesn’t mean we didn’t feel the impact,” says Jacob Cooper, event organizer.

Both Russell and Cooper say seeing so many people come out to show their support was moving.

Russell says, “It’s awesome to have the support of people from other races.”

“I’m not going to lie; I cried just a tiny bit because it’s just a really emotional feeling to see that Americans are realizing that bad things are happening in the system and we’re wanting a change, and we’re looking for a change and we’ve had enough and we’re standing up,” says Cooper.

Russell says this was a special moment.

“It really does mean a lot for me to show up here today. This is my first protest, so it’s just really amazing to be out here today and to support the black community.”

“It just breaks my heart to see that a man, who was a man of God, wasn’t doing anything, wrongfully pinned to the ground and killed. you know that hurts my heart to think about their family, how they had to deal with that,” says Cooper.

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