As protesters gathered Tuesday at the stoplight on SW 19th and Broadway St. in Moore, Rayvin Burress used her megaphone to speak her message to the crowd.
She mentioned the names of several black people across the country who have died in police custody in recent years, challenging the crowd to voice their frustrations with racial inequality.
“We are changing the world right now,” Burress said to the crowd. “We’re not going to let this slide anymore. Until we don’t feel targeted, and until we can feel safe, and until we can go do basic (things), we will be out here every day.”
Burress organized Tuesday’s rally, which drew over 100 attendees, to protest police brutality against black Americans in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who was killed while being restrained by police on May 25.
Tuesday’s rally began at 2:30 p.m., when residents gathered at the stoplight holding signs with messages of support of racial equality and calls for ending police brutality. The rally drew support from local residents, as several vehicles passed the crowd and honked in support of the protesters.
Burress said she contacted the Moore Police Department and city officials in order to coordinate the rally.
“It’s really important to all of us that the protest is peaceful,” Burress said.
While protests have been organized across the country since Floyd’s death, Tuesday marked the first protest in Moore. Burress, a recent Westmoore High School graduate, said that was one motivation for organizing the rally.
“I’ve seen several protests in Norman and Oklahoma City the last few days and I wanted to see one happen in Moore,” Burress said. “I wanted to give people around here a chance to make their voices heard.”
Burress, 19, is one of several teenagers who have organized rallies in Cleveland County in recent weeks. Marissa Lawson, 19, Fayth Marie Cope, 18 and Lirey Munoz, 16, all organized rallies in Norman last week that saw hundreds of people in attendance.
Shannon Burress, Rayvin’s mom, said it’s been wonderful to see Rayvin and other young people organize peaceful protests.
“I’m a proud mom,” Shannon said. “It’s just great to see Rayvin organize this protest and to stand up for what is right and to do it the right way. I’ve always taught her to never look at the color of someone’s skin and to live her life being kind to everybody, and she lives that every day.”
At 3:30 p.m., protesters began marching to the Moore Police Department as police officers blocked sections of SW 19th St. to ensure they were safe. When the protesters arrived, officers blocked off several parking spaces near the front entrance to give them a chance to peacefully gather outside the building.
Several protesters took turns speaking and led the crowd in chants of “black lives matter”. Several officers stood with the protesters and listened to the speakers.
Todd Gibson, Moore police chief, said it was a priority for MPD to make sure protesters were given a chance to exercise their constitutional rights.
“We want our residents to be able to have a demonstration, but we also want it to be a conversation,” Gibson said. “It’s important to us that residents can voice their frustrations, and we wanted to make sure they got here safely. This isn’t just isolated to a law enforcement issue. This is a societal issue. We have to work together to move forward.”
As the rally drew to a close around 5 p.m., Burress and other speakers encouraged the crowd to stay passionate and motivated beyond Tuesday’s rally.
“Until we have justice, we won’t stop,” Burress said. “We have to show that they’ve messed with the last generation.”
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