TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Outrage over the death of George Floyd took center stage in Tuscaloosa with a heavy presence from the next generation of leaders.
Hundreds marched on Government Plaza and eventually near the Federal courthouse calling for an end to racism and police brutality across the country. The youth divisions of the Tuscaloosa chapters of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and NAACP organized the rally.
18-year-old Zyler Wilson, one of the organizers, asking the crowd to keep things peaceful while they continue the fight for change.
“If you mess up the city, what will you come back to? Ok, yes you want to fight for your rights but do it the right way..often times we forget to do it the right way,” Wilson said.
Wilson says his generation needs to use social media to affect positive change.
"All I see on social media these days is yeah, let’s go riot..let go tear something up..let’s go steal..That’s not the key. Thing about the longevity of it. What’s going to happen after that? I just really want us to come together as people..to do more events like this and you see how people are congregating and communicating how they feel. That speaks volumes more so that riots to me,” Wilson said.
Tuscaloosa native Dr. Charles Steel, Jr. is President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He told the crowd racism is still alive and well in this country.
“You tell me racism is not a virus. It will kill you quicker than COVID19. I call it COVID-400, what black folks and brown folks going through…400 years of this stuff..its time to clean it up,” Steel said.
Steel says one way to clean it up is by voting. He’s also calling on an overhaul of the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Steel says they have failed to protect black Americans from racists. Steel says more people need to speak out against racism and injustice.
“Silence in the face of evil is evil itself,” Steel added.