Local News

In Raleigh, human chain bears witness with silence, signs, solidarity with protesters

Posted June 3, 2020 2:41 p.m. EDT
Updated June 3, 2020 6:32 p.m. EDT

— Hundreds of people lined Hillsborough Street in downtown Raleigh Wednesday afternoon, bearing signs and bearing witness to the outrage that has followed the deaths of George Floyd in police custody.

"My faith calls me to is non-violent action," said organizer Rev. Nancy Petty of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church. "You understand the violence and the frustration, and yet my faith calls me to respond in non-violent ways."

Petty's congregation, along with Temple Beth-Orr, organized the "human peace chain," a mile of people linked by a message, standing 15 feet apart to maintain social distance and holding signs in silence.

Protester Kirsten Reverg-Horton explained the silence. "The riots sometimes make people miss the message of what we're doing, and sometimes don't hear our voices because they're interrupted by fear," she said.

For white parents Trish and Jim Ajamie, it was about setting an example for their black daughters.

"I'm a white ally that feels it's really time for white America to see the disparity of the experience of black people in America and not be defensive about it," Trish Ajamie said.

"We just think it's ridiculous how people of color are treated, and we want to change that," her daughter Tya added.

Another young person along the route, Paul Rakestraw, 15, said, "I think we should be standing up in unity today."

Petty said the purpose was to bear witness, "to respect the physical, social distancing that we’ve been asked to do in our city, and to not gather in large crowds, but to still give a personal witness with our bodies and our words."

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