MARIETTA — Thursday marked the fifth day of peaceful protests in Cobb County, and a student-organized protest along Cobb Parkway that afternoon drew a diverse group of well over 100, young and old.
The death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis set off demonstrations and riots against police brutality and racism around the country, and Cobb groups have been demonstrating since Sunday. All Cobb demonstrations have been peaceful thus far.
Alexis Hicks, one of the organizers, is a rising Marietta High School junior, and said she and two others put the plan together Monday night. She said she and others shared the information on social media, and planned to stand along Cobb Parkway near the Marietta Diner from 2 p.m. to around 4 p.m.
“With everything going on and everything that’s happened in the past, there needs to be a change,” she said, noting also that the group would kneel for more than eight minutes at 3:45 p.m. to recognize the time an officer had kneeled on Floyd’s neck during his arrest. “I feel like my generation and our youth, we’re very open-minded, we’re very accepting. ... We all just want to get together and make this change.”
Just before 2 p.m., Hicks said she expected around 50 people to show. By 2:40 p.m., the peaceful demonstration had drawn well over 100. Like other demonstrations that have come before, the group chanted Floyd’s name, as well as other black men and women killed at the hands of police. This group also chanted for the passage of Georgia House Bill 426, a statewide hate crimes bill working its way through the General Assembly.
While most protesters were young, Cobb parents and grandparents also attended.
As motorists passed honking in support, 51-year-old Christine Jefferson, a white Acworth resident and grandparent, told the MDJ she came to the protest to lobby for equal rights for her family and others.
“My husband’s black, my kids are black, my grandkids are black. I’m appalled at what’s happening in the country,” she said. “I’m enraged. So this is the only thing I know how to do right now.”
Jefferson also said the demonstrations are a team effort and “everybody needs to be out here,” from all generations.
Like during other protests, some passersby also delivered to the group bottles of water or asked how else they could lend a hand. Police stood by, but reported an overall peaceful and respectful protest.