On a sunny Thursday afternoon several members of the Ball State and Muncie communities gathered outside Shafer Tower for the march protesting the death of George Floyd and racial injustice against African Americans.
Organized by Ishmael El-Amin, junior Ball State Basketball guard, and his roommate, Sultan "Mufasa" Benson, the peaceful protesters would march down to Muncie City Hall.
The protests began with eight minutes of silence, followed by speeches from the organizers and a short prayer. Eight minutes and 46 seconds is the length of time prosecutors say Floyd was pinned to the ground under a white Minneapolis police officer’s knee, according to the Associated Press.
El-Amin said the turnout proved to him that people want things to be different.
“We’re done being tired, and we’re done being quiet,” he said.
He said it’s very important that the protests remain peaceful.
“For that to happen throughout the whole day is something we really hope that we’re able to do,” El-Amin said.
Benson thanked everyone that came out to the protests and reiterated the importance of having a peaceful protest.
“We are all her for peace,” he said. “We want to show them how we get this done.”
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KeAyra Williams, a 2019 Ball State alumna, said she decided to come to Ball State for the protest from Indianapolis because it was a big cause for her.
“I am a black woman. At some point I’m going to have black children, a black husband. I don’t want my kids laying in the streets. I don’t want them dead. I don’t want their brothers dead. I don’t want my father dead, my grandfather,” Williams said. “This has to stop.”
Another protester at the event was Chandler Bew, who reflected on when he first heard the news about Floyd’s death.
He said he was at his father’s house, watching the news when he first heard about the incident, and thought that the incident would lead to something.
“I think it’s justified,” Bew said about the protests in Minneapolis. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t justified.”
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The protesters were also joined by people in the Ball State and Muncie community, like Muncie Mayor Dan Ridenour and Muncie Police Department (MPD) Chief Nathan Sloan.
Ridneour said every protest in Muncie has been peaceful, informative and a chance for everyone to share their thoughts.
“It brings people together and anytime people can be together, the communication level rises,” he said. “They’re being heard.”
Sloan said he and MPD officers were invited by the organizers to join the protest and they wouldn’t miss the opportunity. He said nobody dislikes a bad cop as much as a good cop.
“I’ve got good people in my department and that’s what we’re going to let people know,” he said. “This is the kind of community engagement we need everyday, all day.”
The protesters chanted slogans like “Black Lives Matter,” and “No justice, no peace” before marching down McKinley Avenue headed to City Hall.
After protesters gathered at City Hall, other speakers joined in to address the crowds standing outside the building, like Jalen Jones, who delivered the concluding remarks at the protest.
"The fight has just begun," Jones said. "We don't finish here. This is not where we end."
He told the crowd to keep up the energy with which it protested Thursday evening after they leave back to their homes.
"We're not here looking for perfection. We're looking to progress — progress as people," Jones said. "Love will prevail. Justice will prevail."
The protesters gathered then shared a hug with the people standing next to them before dispersing peacefully a little after 7 p.m. from City Hall.
Charles Melton contributed to this article.
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