Students lead BLM march June 5


Students gather at Mansfield City Hall on June 6

Autumn Foreman

To show support for the Black Lives Matter movement, students marched down Broad Street from Mansfield High School to the Mansfield City Hall, on June 5.

“There was a big group of people chanting and letting their voices be heard,’’ junior Esther  Arhewoh said. “This protest was peaceful. But black people are tired of waiting and are at their limit. We can see that in the looting and violence that went on during national protests. They are trying everything so that (people) will finally listen.”

The march, led by the Mansfield High School Black Student Association, quickly gained attention after details were posted on social media. 

“I felt incredibly proud that this was student led, which made me very honored to be an educator,” counselor Becky Bielinksi said. “Our community needed this. We gained a moment in history that our community can use to continue moving forward.”

An estimated 2,000 people showed up to march in what has become a nation-wide movement protesting police brutality. 

“I showed up because it was time to spread awareness through my community,” junior Tolani Feyisetan said. “The whole world started realizing that it’s time to act and I felt it is only right to bring that same energy to Mansfield, and show people that enough is enough.” 

Nationwide the protests started after the video of George Floyd’s arrest and death on May 25 hit the news.

“When I heard about Floyd, I felt heartbroken at the fact that another black man had died in the hands of a cop,” Arhewoh said. “This was unlike every other story. Usually whenever police brutality was brought up, they always said the victim wasn’t complying and was running away. But we saw George Floyd on the floor, not resisting and for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, a cop had their knee (on his neck) suffocating him. It was truly wicked, I was outraged and all the cops involved needed to face justice.”

At 8-months pregnant, Bieinksi decided not to march but handed out water bottles to students.

“(Floyd) represents the people I love dearly who face a racial injustice that I do not experience as a white person,” she said. “When my friends are hurting, I hurt. I am empowered to take more time to reflect upon my own privileges, perspectives and actions. I want to continue to be a learner and use the voice I have been given for the power of positive change.” 

With temperatures at 95 degrees, students and community members marched 2.4 miles.

“I was very hot because it’s in Texas at like 2 p.m., which is the peak time for the sun,”  Feyisetan said. “By the end of march, I was very, very tired.” 

Senior Tamia Stockett wasn’t surprised with the large turnout.

“I expected a big outcome due to the fact that everyone was so shaken up about what was going on,” she said. 

Students held up signs, including Stockett whose sign stated “All lives don’t matter, unless black lives matter.”

“Until the black community matters and we get the same treatment as everyone else then all lives don’t matter,” Stockett said. “It felt great to be a part of the movement and let our voices be heard.”

Marchers had to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

“It had been several months since anyone really had much interaction with other people because of the quarantine,” Bielinksi said. “(But) in the midst of mourning loss and tragedy, there were lots of positive moments full of joy and hope as everyone united and stood together.”