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VIDEO: Black Lives Matter Rally in Sparks

By Dana Nollsch

Protesters gather and prepare for their march at Victorian Ave and 14th Street.
Protesters gather and prepare for their march at Victorian Ave. and 14th Street.
Rally participants gather in the auditorium to disuse the Black Lives Matter cause and share experiences.
Rally participants gather in the auditorium to disuse the Black Lives Matter cause and share experiences.
Sparks police provided an escort for the entirety of the Black Lives Matter march.
Sparks police provided an escort for the entirety of the Black Lives Matter march in 2016.
Sparks police provided an escort for the entirety of the Black Lives Matter march.
Sparks police provided an escort for the entirety of the Black Lives Matter march in July 2016.
Sparks SWAT team was present but remained out of sight for the entirety of the rally.
Sparks SWAT team was present but remained out of sight for the entirety of the rally.
Inside of the auditorium anyone was welcome to speak up and share their stories or voice frustrations.
Inside of the auditorium anyone was welcome to speak up and share their stories or voice frustrations.
Protesters march down Victorian Ave chanting "No justice no peace" and "Hands up, don't shoot."
Protesters march down Victorian Ave chanting "No justice no peace" and "Hands up, don't shoot."
Inside of the auditorium anyone was welcome to speak up and share their stories or voice frustrations.
Inside of the auditorium anyone was welcome to speak up and share their stories or voice frustrations.
Inside of the auditorium anyone was welcome to speak up and share their stories or voice frustrations.
Inside of the auditorium anyone was welcome to speak up and share their stories or voice frustrations.

By Dana Nollsch & Ty O’Neil

The streets were fairly empty as the protesters arrived slowly. There was no fanfare as the crowd of perhaps 60 to 70 people gathered and readied themselves to walk down Victorian Avenue from the bus station to the amphitheater.

The rally was peaceful, and Sparks police stayed at a significant distance, with the exception of the escort. While smaller than the Reno rally the week before, many people attended both. The feeling of this march was markedly different as there was little media and hardly any police visibility.

After their march down Victorian avenue the group gathered in the auditorium were the organizers spoke to the crowd. The group then opened the floor and allowed anyone to speak. The speakers ranged from young men asking for revolution to mothers sharing their concern for their children’s future.

This march, organized by Krys Ro, was well organized and was not officially connected to the national Black Lives Matter movement.

The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2012 after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and has gathered momentum in other communities as the movement finds more high-profile deaths on a very regular basis. The organizer said that this is not an anti-cop movement, but an anti-brutality and anti-racism movement.

What struck us about what was heard from the organizers was the talk about how they will be working with police departments to not only address the problems, but also to find solutions that will work for everyone in our community. This, along with testimonials describing racism people have experienced or witnessed, rounded out the protest.

We did notice that the Sparks Police and Washoe County Sheriffs were definitely present, just outside of sight of the protest. This event definitely had the feeling of being safe and nonviolent.

Check out the video to see what we saw and judge for yourself.

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