For almost two weeks now, protesters have taken to the streets all across the country to demand justice for George Floyd and to fight police brutality.
Locally, about 100 protesters lined the intersection of Collier Boulevard and Immokalee Road, near North Naples Saturday. The protesters held signs with phrases like “hands up don’t shoot” and “black lives matter.”
Some parents and protestors say they themselves have faced injustice at the hands of the police. “I’ve had personal experiences and I’ve seen where the justice system and police force is built around racial profiling,” said Anthony Sebro of Naples.
“I have 5 grandchildren and I have 4 children. My 4 children faced some serious things in high school based on race differences, ” explained Trevor Garnder, also a protester from Naples.
Many protesters assert that they don’t want the next generation’s future to reflect their past. “I want it to improve for my grandchildren also. I want them to have a better America,” said Gardner.
And Gardner actually thinks the next generation can achieve this. “I’m for the children of America because I think the next generation will be very different from this generation in terms of race relationship,” said Gardner.
“We’re just teaching our kids to be good people,” said Eddie Fernandes, another demonstrator and Naples resident.
Fernades said it was actually his children’s idea to come. “They’ve seen it. We’ve talked about it. They understand what’s going on so we’re just out here to teach them the right way to protest,” he said. “My kids wanted to come out and basically exercise their first amendment right.”
Sebro explains how everyone is affected by racial injustice. “Any injustice to a minority, a black, a person of color is really an injustice to society and until people realize you get to the place where you can treat everybody equally then the entire society is hurting,” he said.
But Garnder believes things can change and that’s exactly why he and others came out. “I believe in the future of this country. I believe things will get better. I’m looking toward that better day,” he said.
Meanwhile, a group of bikers was on hand to show their support for law enforcement and make sure their community is safe. Some protests have turned violent, and they wanted to make sure this wouldn’t be one them.
“We don’t want to see any looting, any arson, any thievery burglary,” said Michael Zaruba, one of the bikers on hand. “So we’re just standing up for our community.”
The protest, however, did remain civil. “Just out here observing. Nothing more it’s all peaceful,” said Zaruba. “You wanna come here peacefully that’s fine. We have no problem with that.”