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Protest event planned in wake of Floyd killing

SoVaNow.com / June 01, 2020
The national outcry over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody has given rise to a local protest rally set for Tuesday in downtown South Boston.

Seeking to avoid any hint of the rioting and violence that has convulsed cities around the U.S. in the wake of Floyd’s death, the young organizer of the event — a rising senior at Halifax County High School — has made it clear that weapons, aggressive action and threatening words are not welcome.

It is set to begin at 6 p.m. at Constitution Square, where protestors are asked to gather before marching the sidewalks in town with signs to protest recent killings of African Americans by police and others.

“I want it to be totally peaceful,” said Nevaeh Hodges, who recently finished up her junior year at HCHS. “I don’t even want there to be any profanity. I don’t want it to be negative toward anybody. I want to spread love, not hate.”

Hodges, the daughter of Shanetta Crews-Hodges and Kenneth Hodges II of South Boston, said she first reached out to a circle of friends about holding a protest on the sidewalk in front of the high school. “I was only expecting 10 or 15 people would be interested in it,” she said.

But after floating the idea in private Facebook groups, the 17-year-old said she felt encouraged to communicate more openly in inviting people to participate. Through social media, including her personal Facebook page, she has received mostly positive feedback on holding the local Black Lives Matter rally.

Hodges said most of her feedback has come from African-American youths like herself — but not entirely. “There are a lot of white people who have reached out to me to say they would like to participate,” she said. “It’s been diverse.”

She also has heard the sentiment that such an event isn’t necessary here: “Oh, this doesn’t really happen in Halifax, so why do we need to protest?”

From reading social media posts of people in the area, Hodges said she has come to believe police treatment of local African Americans is a problem — from many accounts that black people have offered to the question, “When did you first experience racism?”

Even if encounters with police aren’t confrontational or violent, they can leave an impression, she said.

“Being black, regardless of where you live, in all probability you’ve had a situation with police where you felt probably there could be a danger. Not that you’re always in danger, but [the possibility] is always there.”

In a Facebook post explaining the ground rules for the protest, Hodges says anyone exhibiting violent behavior will be asked to leave. “This is PEACEFUL protest, not a riot,” she wrote. Masks are required, and participants will be asked to socially distance.

She also asks for no hate speech and “please, leave all weapons at home!”

Signs will be available for those without their own.

Hodges said there are no plans for now to have people speak at Constitution Square because she wants the protestors to walk the sidewalks, chanting and holding signs to express outrage at the deaths of Floyd and others — including, in recent days, the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia by a white father and son with law enforcement ties, and Louisville medic Breonna Taylor, who was shot to death by city police inside her apartment.

The death of Floyd — who was pinned to pavement by Minneapolis police for almost nine minutes, with officer Derek Chauvin crushing Floyd’s head under his knee — has inflamed the country, with thousands of people arrested in street protests. Chauvin has been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter, and the other three officers who took part in pinning the handcuffed man to the ground have been fired from the city police department.

South Boston Police Lt. Randy Redd said Sunday that the town department is aware of the planned protest, but he said the protestors have not gotten a permit to hold an event at Constitution Square. Redd said that as of Friday, when he left the office, no one had contacted SBPD about a gathering at Constitution Square. Redd said he has been in contact with a different individual about holding a demonstration, but that person indicated no date, time or place in mind.

Redd said the police department is “still trying to sort out the details” of what is planned Tuesday and said he did not want to comment further. He declined to offer a statement on the Minneapolis situation.

Hodges said Sunday that she called the police station on Saturday to inform police of the plans for the protest, and she will follow up today with SBPD. However, she said Constitution Square is simply the gathering place and the march will take place on sidewalks — a constitutionally protected activity that does not require a permit.

Hodges said she reached that conclusion after visiting the website of the American Civil Liberties Union, which indeed notes that “[y]ou don’t need a permit to march in the streets or on sidewalks, as long as marchers don’t obstruct car or pedestrian traffic. If you don’t have a permit, police officers can ask you to move to the side of a street or sidewalk to let others pass or for safety reasons.”

The right to demonstrate is “strongest in what are known as ‘traditional public forums,’ such as streets, sidewalks, and parks,” the ACLU advises.

Hodges, a cheerleader at the high school, said she has never done anything like this before, although she had taken part in summer leadership programs through HCHS. Her ambition is to become a lawyer, possibly focusing on criminal justice or business law. “I’ve always wanted to be a defense attorney, but my family has businesses” — including 2016 Chamber Business of the Year H&M Logging — “so I may want to do that.”



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Comments

Facts are more whites are killed by police than blacks. Unfortunately the police deal with criminals and life threatening situations on a daily basis, and have to use deadly force at times. They kill about a 1000 people a year, which is a small percentage of their encounters/arrests, etc. Whites top the list of those killed by police. These are indisputable facts.

What happened to G Floyd was terrible, but it is an isolated incident, it just gets hyped by the media, plain and simple.

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It isn't going to devalue the lives of any white people if there is a peaceful protest. As long as things remain peaceful, let my black brothers and sisters protest the racial injustice they encounter far too often. Statistics don't mean anything when you are talking about actual human beings. Say his name. He was a person...not just a number. We are all people, not just numbers. Say our names!

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Peaceful? Turn on your T.V. lately?

This notion that there is systemic racism rampant throughout this country is nonsense.

Stats mean everything - facts don't lie. George Floyd was killed by another person. Why does it always have to be "black guy killed by white guy"? A white killing a black man is RARE when looking at stats. I urge you to do some research and look at who is responsible for the overwhelming majority of murders where the victim was a black man.

As for the protest, as long as it is peaceful it is your right to do so. Nobody has an issue with peaceful protests.

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I commend Ms. Hodges for her sense of community and responsibility in organizing this peaceful demonstration and exercising her First Amendment rights. She sounds like an outstanding young lady with a bright future ahead of her.

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@tired of media: That's an awful lot of words for you're scared of POC having the same basic rights as you. And don't come at me with "systemic racism doesn't exist," because even YOU know it does.

My comments were specifically targeted toward Halifax County's planned peaceful protest. Again, statistics mean nothing when it's your children being threatened or dying.

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@tired of racism - pls provide ONE example of systemic racism today.

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@Tired of racism...

Since you like stats so much, here is one that nobody in the left wing media NEVER mentions..

2019
10,000,000 arrests were made.
1004 Killed by police.
41 were unarmed.
19 were white.
9 were black.

These are statistics from the FBI's yearly crime report. The facts are undisputed.

Police are NOT hunting young black men. It is a myth.

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George Floyd...there is an example of systemic racism, right there. He would not have died if he was white. Donald Trump calling black neighborhoods infested and calling countries inhabited by POC sh*tholes... this is the leader of the free world...racism at the highest level. You believe in trickle-down economics so much, but not trickle-down racism?
And you are clearly from a law enforcement background to keep beating those dead horse statistics...AND THAT'S WHAT IS SO SCARY!! A law enforcement background with such hate for another race. When your white daughters and sons become an OD statistic, maybe you'll feel differently about why numbers don't matter, but lives do.

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If you need more examples: the Justice Department found that African-Americans were pulled over 30% more than their white or Hispanic counterparts when all other factors were relatively the same. Hate groups have increased 400% since Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009. For every black person convicted of a killing, they are 1.5X more likely to receive the death penalty than a white person convicted of the same crime. How is this not systemic? And you may be saying, "well, it is all in the defense you can mount in court." Which we all know costs money, and let's not get started on the nearly insurmountable wealth gap...which is another product of systemic racism. We cannot obtain wealth if we are being kept away from the highest level jobs. Even those of us who are qualified can barely get a foot in the door sometimes. I will forgive you for not knowing these things, as you have never experienced them. But now you do, so ignorance can no longer be your excuse.

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@TOR

Not in law enforcement, but I respect those that are. They have terrible pay and die every year. They have to go into the worst situations daily, especially in the inner cities, that are sh*tholes for sure - crime, drugs, gangs, violence.

Funny you don't like my stats but turn around and find stats that fit your narrative - can't have it both ways. smile

No evidence that racism played a part in Mr Floyds death. If so, please disclose it. He was a victim of poor policing. FBI stats show that 19 unarmed WHITE people last year were killed by police, that is TWICE as many as blacks. Also 89 police were gunned down in the line of duty.

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You asked for examples of systemic racism. I didn't "find" examples to fit my narrative. They exist and you asked for them. To quote you: "pls provide ONE example of systemic racism today." Don't ask for what you can't handle. Derek Chauvin had a history of violence against African-Americans.

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You didn't provide and example of systemic racism. The cop that killed Mr Floyd was just a bad person, how do you know it was race related? Everytime something bad happens to a black person, it is not because of their race.

Again, more unarmed whites are killed by police than unarmed blacks. Facts are facts.

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It is clear that you are incapable of reading as there is a whole list of examples I provided above. Go ahead, look up there. There are at least THREE examples I provided for you. I'll wait while you look back. And then, just admit that you hate POC and are part of the problem. No one is disputing your statistics...and good on you for learning how to use Google. But don't try to gaslight me and tell me that I did not provide irrefutable statistics as well, clear as day, posted above. It makes YOU look insane.

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And furthermore, if you are concerned about your white, unarmed brethren being killed by police, maybe they should "not have been doing wrong/committing crimes," "pull themselves up by their bootstraps," and all the other things that white people tell black people to do. It would seem that we are not as different as you would like to believe, but yet you still treat us as second-class citizens.

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Peaceful protest is acceptable. When they turn into looting rampages the police are left with little choice but to act. Those business owners pay taxes and deserve protection. A lot of this stuff is brought about in a person carries them self. It does not pay to get loud and have an attitude with the police when you are stopped on the street and pulled over. In order to get respect, you must give respect. If you look at the lifestyle let by many in the black community, you don't have to look hard to see that respect of self is totally lacking. Many problems would be solved if you started seeing 2 parent black families. many children are raised by the street and we see how wonderful that turns out.

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@TOR

I don't hate POC, don't hate anyone for that matter, I am educated, and can read. I am just saying that racism is NOT a huge problem in our system. Are there people who hate someone due to their race or religion? YEP. But in our basic system it doesn't exit. You simply can't cry racism every single time. It just gets old. And I am not concerned about white people getting in trouble with the law. Usually if you behave you won't encounter police. Again, the police have a tough job to do and they interact with violent criminals daily. It sucks. Sometimes, as humans do, they make terrible mistakes. It is NOT ALWAYS race related.

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Okay...how can you say systemic racism doesn't exist, but say statistics don't lie? Whose statistics are lying? Whose aren't? I pulled mine from the DOJ...you pulled yours from the FBI. Who's lying? The federal government? Which sector? The one enforcing the laws or the ones interpreting the laws? I'm not arguing; I'm honestly trying to understand at this point. I'm honestly trying to understand how white people cannot see there is a problem. "If you aren't outraged, you aren't listening." "Privilege is when it's not a problem because it doesn't personally affect you."

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Maybe police stop more blacks because they are committing more of the crime. Cops aren't pulling over many 65 year old Asians for a reason. Name one instance here in Halifax, where systemic racism has hurt a black. We have black Dr's(I go to one), we have black teachers, coaches, admins, police, and a black mayor. The country has black congressman and senators, AND we had a bi-racial President. Sure doesn't look like there is a racism problem to me.

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It's terribly sad that you think because it "doesn't happen here" that it doesn't happen. By that standard, 9/11 never happened because it didn't happen in Halifax County. The moon landing...Hilter's Death...Obama's inauguration...none of those ever happened because they didn't take place in Halifax County. Do you see how ridiculous you sound? I gave you statistics directly from the DOJ on how more blacks are pulled over when other factors are the same...not when they are "committing more crimes" than whites. That means that if there are two cars in an otherwise empty parking lot, STATISTICALLY,an officer of the law is more likely to approach and question the black driver vs. the white one. How are you going to tell me that I refuse to accept the statistics you posted (which, I don't refute, btw), but you are unwilling to accept irrefutable statistics I post because they don't fit your agenda of hating brown people? Gtfoh

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@TOR

"By that standard, 9/11 never happened because it didn't happen in Halifax County. The moon landing...Hilter's Death...Obama's inauguration...none of those ever happened because they didn't take place in Halifax County. " Horrible analogies - LOL - You must be in middle school or something...

SYSTEMIC Racism does not exist nation wide - you know it, I know it, EVERYONE knows it. I hear various people in the media say stuff like "blacks are being hunted everyday in this country" - the implication is that "whitey" is doing the hunting. The cold hard facts simple refute that totally, yet they keep on saying it.

#1 cause of death of black males ages 15-34 is, you guessed it, being killed by another black male. Not by police, not by a random white dude, but by another black person. Check the stats on Chicago's murder rate, who are the victims, and who is doing the killing. Then try Baltimore, then Richmond...

Why is it Asians don't have a problem with police?


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