As communities across the country continue to march for racial equity, a group of young activists have been leading demonstrations throughout Snohomish County — and on Tuesday they made their way to Lynnwood.
Around 100 community members gathered in front of Lynnwood City Hall to speak out against racial injustice and police brutality against people of color. Led by Joshua Binda, a 20-year-old Lynnwood resident, the group has been holding demonstrations countywide in response to the death of George Floyd in May.
Lynnwood is the fifth city in which the group of youths has led a march. It is also Binda’s hometown.
“I just had this urge to stand up and make a difference in our community,” he said.
Binda and his fellow activists graduated from Kamiak High School, and he is currently studying computer science and political science at Edmonds College.
After attending his first protest in Snohomish, Binda said he was inspired to hold his own demonstrations and decided to organize them. According to Binda, the turnout for his first protest was 600 people. Since then, he has been reaching out to cities to keep the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement going.
“From that point on, we’ve been picking up momentum and keeping it pushing,” he said.
Though participants shared the same goal, Binda said each activist had his or her own agenda for getting involved in the movement. Some are working toward education reform while others address police brutality, he said.
In addition to pushing local governments to enact change in his community, Binda has also been meeting with state officials like Reps. Roger Goodman and Larry Springer to promote legislation reform. He said he has also been working on a state bill to remove qualified immunity for police officers in cases of murder.
“Beyond the protests, I’ve been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work,” he said. “There’s just been a whole bunch of work being done in general besides the protests you see here.”
Several city leaders, including Mayor Nicola Smith and a majority of the Lynnwood City Council, attended the demonstration.
The protest began with a march around Lynnwood Civic Campus, starting at city hall and making its way past the Lynnwood Library and Veteran’s Park. While making its way down 46th Avenue West, the crowd chanted the names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor — as well as other popular chants like “Hands up, don’t shoot” and “I am not a threat” — and residents came out to watch the procession.
Halfway through the march, Binda and fellow activist Jaden Sheffey halted the march and instructed the crowd to lay on the street for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the time it took George Floyd to die while a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.
“We know it’s not a comfortable state to be in and we hope you understand and have a stronger perspective of what it was like for George Floyd and many others,” Sheffey said.
Following the march, the crowd made its way back to the front of city hall where activists made speeches, sang and recited poetry.
To see more photos from the Blackout Tuesday Protest, view the gallery below:
–By Cody Sexton