Smaller cities attracting George Floyd solidarity protests

There was a large and diverse crowd in Pinole on Thursday, a city that's not used to hosting political protests.

Organizers are taking the movement for equal justice into the suburbs.

The march and protest in Pinole was organized by college students.It had a turnout that would make a large city proud. By police estimate,1,000 people attended.

"Quite frankly, I've never seen anything like this in Pinole. I think this is very historic. I think it's very important," said protester, Armond Lee, 23.

The protestors say Pinole with its diverse population is a good place to show solidarity with others demanding justice for George Floyd.

"It's important that every single city, even the suburbs, show their support. That we don't stand for what's going on around the world," said Anastasia Wilkinson.  

Demonstrators pounded the pavement, starting at Fernandez Park and spoke words from their heart at City Hall.

 "We've been fighting for a long, long time," said Khayla Jones, 26, who spoke at the protest,

"This fight can not go silent after today."

Words about the struggles of the black community drew emotion. 

The city of Pinole has seen its racial makeup change. U.S. Census data shows it was predominantly white 20 years ago. Not so much in 2020.

"Say his name: George Floyd.  What do we want? Justice," chanted the crowd.

"Communicate with people around you. Be respectful. Stand up for what you believe in and do not back down," said Kimyatta Newby, one of the two students who organized this demonstration.

Organizers said  there was apprehension by some in the community when they heard about the protest being held here.

"A lot of people thought we were going to come and terrorize the city. They want to believe the movement is dangerous, but it's not. We're fighting the danger," said Wilkinson. 

The goal is to bring about change through  peaceful demonstration.

There was a moment of silence as protestors took to their knees.

Looking forward, they said other actions are needed to sustain their movement.  

"We're trying to create an environment, a country, a power that is empowering to each other and to love each other," said Newby. 

Organizers and protestors said they're pleasantly surprised by the large turnout.

They said it shows the power of the movement for change.