On Sunday, May 31, hundreds of members of the Winchester/Frederick County community gathered in downtown Winchester to peacefully protest police brutality and racial injustice in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after a police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. (The officer has been charged with second-degree murder and he and three other officers involved have been charged with aiding and abetting a crime.)
The protestors carried signs and chanted “No justice, no peace,” and “Say his name: George Floyd.” Their march took a path that eventually led to a roundabout outside the Timbrook Public Safety Center, which houses the City of Winchester’s police force. Toward the end of the event, a police officer clasped hands with two of the protesters.
Shenandoah University MBA student and Student Government Association President De’Angelo Wynn ’19, ’20, spontaneously addressed fellow protesters as they all prepared to march.
While participating, I felt like I was where I was supposed to be. The energy and emotion were palpable. The love and unity were amazing and for once I felt like – ‘Damn, we really have the power to make change.’”
Wynn, who grew up in Georgia in “a huge brown family,” said he and his family members have always experienced racism – judicial, educational, and within society at large.
Seeing the unfair treatment that members of my family had to deal with made me angry and frustrated even many years later. So when I witnessed the murder of George Floyd, I saw my brother. I saw my uncle. I saw my mother. Therefore, I couldn’t remain silent. I had to come out to the protest to be heard. Enough is enough.”
He didn’t fear for his safety at Sunday’s event. “However, in the lens of the Covid pandemic, I never forgot the threat of the virus; it’s just racism and social injustice took back their platform as the biggest pandemics in America and in that moment I had to tackle those.” (Also, masks were prominent among the protestors.)
Wynn said the protest was necessary and he plans to participate in more.
I believe that the protest helped to bring awareness to the fact that serious discussion and action are needed to address racism, social injustice, and police brutality in America. We joined with hundreds within this community and an untold number of people around the world to say enough is enough.”
And Wynn, who served in the Navy (including combat deployments in Afghanistan) for almost eight years, and who hopes to continue his post-MBA studies at Shenandoah in the Doctor of Professional Studies in Organizational Leadership program, said once the protests end, those dedicated to dismantling racist policy can’t let up on their work.
We must continue to be agents of change by utilizing our voice and presence; however, most importantly, it is my goal to bring awareness to the power of our vote.”
Winchester protests are being organized through the “‘I Can’t Breathe’ Walk on Winchester” Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/186331079306975. A silent march is planned for 11 a.m. on Friday, June 5, with “A March to Be Heard” beginning at 4 p.m. on June 5.
Racial justice resources are available on Shenandoah University’s website as well at www.su.edu/racialjustice.