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The faces of protest: Residents stand together for justice
After placing a 25-foot cross bearing the names of black Americans killed by police and vigilantes on the grounds of the Statesboro Police Department, Francys Johnson makes an impassioned plea for institutional changes on June 6.

   In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Bulloch County residents continue to join worldwide protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May, as well as other black Americans at the hands of police officers and vigilantes. 

Unlike many other cities where looting and chaos have sometimes accompanied daily protests, Statesboro protests, attended by hundreds, have been peaceful, mostly weekly events with light police presence. Peaceful should not be mistaken for meek, however, as police brutality is still the central interest of protesters, with speakers and marchers making impassioned pleas for recognition and reform.

 Local community leaders, elected officials and youth groups have all contributed as organizers and speakers in what many see as an effort to connect and make history with fellow Americans.

Statesboro Mayor Jonathan McCollar has praised local protestors who have taken part in the peaceful demonstrations. But he also spoke strong words to all Bulloch County residents..

“I'm not going to make you feel comfortable in your ignorance if you believe that we do not have a problem,” he said.  “I'm a mayor that's going to tell you the truth whether you like it or not … and I'm telling you our city is not exempt. We have this same foolishness, this same ignorance, this same bigotry right here in our community, and we must have the courage to address it. We must. I love this community entirely too much to lie to it. This is our nation … it’s about all of us making this nation be what it was destined to be.”

Casey Gamble takes a knee during the protest on June 6 in Statesboro.
Abigail Talley is swept up in the emotion of the moment while listening to Johnson.
GSU protestors
Some student athletes, coaches and staff from Georgia Southern University athletics participate in the latest protest against police brutality at the Bulloch County Courthouse and the Statesboro Police Department.
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