CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The Coalition of Black Pastors brought hundreds of people to the streets of Chesapeake on Monday, where they marched from The Mount Church on Las Gaviotas Boulevard to Chesapeake City Hall.
The march, which started at 5 p.m., came after a weekend full of demonstrations throughout the region to protest police brutality and systemic racism. The protests were in response to the deaths of George Floyd as well as the deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
On Saturday, Virginia Beach saw a massive march from Mount Trashmore to Town Center that drew approximately 1,000 people. A prayer march in Norfolk and a children's rally in Chesapeake also took place on Sunday.
Officials posted on the Chesapeake city government's Facebook page that city buildings located at the Municipal Center on Cedar Road would close on Monday at 3 p.m. to prepare for the rally.
All other city facilities remained open for regular hours.
“I want to be a part of this big change in history that is finally starting to change,” said march participant, Celina Harris.
Some of the younger people in the crowd told us they see it as an opportunity to make a difference today and the start of being the difference they want for the future.
“When we see clear injustice, good people will fight back," said Cheyanne Harris.
March participant, Casndra Baker said, “Just because it’s not your direct family doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect the community around you.”
More than 20 churches in the community put together the march Monday. It’s a crowd that wants the community to defy generations of racism.
Elisha "Cadillac" Harris said, “It’s been going on for 400 years, so to see this generation embrace it and call it out for what it is, it’s heartfelt.”
Police were stationed along the march's route where westbound lanes of Cedar Road were shut down to allow people to march on that side. The eastbound lanes allowed for a single lane of traffic to move in each direction.
Once the group gets to Chesapeake City Hall, people plan to rally and present the Chesapeake mayor with changes they’d like to see in the community.