Community members gathered in front of Plumb Hall to protest against police brutality on June 5. The march was organized by Diana Ramirez and Lindsey Ruffin, with support from organizations like Emporia State's Associated Student Government.
“We are just going to go down commercial street in a peaceful protest, nothing more nothing less,” Ruffin said, speaking into a megaphone. “No one will be harmed, I give you my word on that. No one will be harmed, so thank you for coming out.”
Next to Ruffin was Diana Ramirez, who urged protesters to remain peaceful and remember why they had gathered.
“Thank you,” Ramirez said. “I didn’t expect this many people. Just remember that this is our fight too and it is up to us to fight for change.”
Protestors were provided with over 250 bottles of water by Brayden Soper and Amaya Oshel, the ASG president and vice president. Other protestors brought extra signs, medical supplies and makeshift shields.
With a police escort, protestors made their way from the college down commercial street all the while calling for an end to police violence, justice for victims of brutality and respect for black lives.
Some groups handed out water bottles and extra masks while the crowd made its way to a spot across from the police station where they could take turns sharing stories of violent police encounters and plans for change.
“I am tired of seeing black children, and men and women dying from police brutality,” Ruffin said. “There is no reason to have a rifle pointed at a thirteen-year-old, what is a thirteen-year-old going to do to a fully armed officer? He isn’t going to do shit. My point is that black lives do matter, you matter, you matter, you matter, and you matter. My point is we are not different, we all bleed the same. We have to unite to fight against police brutality, so thank you.”
As protestors continued to gather, EPD interim chief of police Ed Owens spoke about his thoughts on the march and what the Emporia police department could do better.
“We’ve got a good community here, but we have problems that come to the table with the cops because you are right, what happened in Minnesota was horrible,” Owens said. “I’m going to go out on a ledge here and say I’m tired of hearing African American, I’m tired of hearing Mexican American, we’re all Americans. I’ve said that for years I can’t stand it, it’s ridiculous…it pains me to hear the stories up here so let’s keep communication going, when communication stops bad things happen so keep communicating. My office is open so they can come speak to me whenever they want, believe me.”