Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people set to the streets to protest in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement over the summer. CCHS senior Sydney Towle was one of them and she hasn’t planned to stop anytime soon.
Over the summer, Towle attended three protests in Miami, two in Davie and one in both Miramar and Las Olas, respectively. But now, she sets out to plan protests of her own. With the idea of marching from Tree Tops Park all the way down to the Davie police, she took this to the local authorities in hopes of support.
“I called them to ask if [a protest] was okay and they said ‘no’ because they couldn’t shut down their roads anymore because the residents need to get around, which I understood. But over time, I saw that there were Trump rallies being held on the corner and that just didn’t sit right with me,” Towle said. “So instead, I decided to do my little twist on it and just go when they weren’t there to protest kind of the opposite, but on their turf.”
Where Griffin Road meets University Drive, Towle took matters into her own hands and decided to host a one-woman protest. Towle mentioned she went out there with a sign, speaker and a bottle of water for three hours.
The next day, she went out there again, but this time she was not alone. Having posted about going out to protest again on her Instagram, Towle began her protest with one other person and ended it with over 15 participants.
“I was really excited to hear that Sydney had put together something so moving and powerful where a bunch of people with the same ideas and mindset come together and really join to make a movement.”Senior Maria Potter
“I was really excited to hear that Sydney had put together something so moving and powerful where a bunch of people with the same ideas and mindset come together and really join to make a movement,” senior Maria Potter said.
The protest lasted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and it consisted of participants holding signs, listening to music and waving at any cars that honked in support.
“If there’s any way to describe it, it was beyond me. My body just went and looking back, it was all a blur,” Towle said. “Seeing people see my Instagram stories and coming out to meet me so that there could be a larger group of people was so crazy to me.”
Towle picked that specific spot not only to contrast the protests that had previously occurred in the area, but to also show support for those that held similar values as her in the Cooper/Davie area. Towle believed that areas such as Miramar or Miami have progressed on these views more than Davie, so that’s why it’s even more important to hold BLM protests there.
“Especially now, we need to let people know that we’re a force to be reckoned with and that as the youth, we’re going to come together and we’re going to make a change…”Senior Sydney Towle
“Especially now, we need to let people know that we’re a force to be reckoned with and that as the youth, we’re going to come together and we’re going to make a change […] so basically to let people know that we’re here, we’re loud and we’re going to help,” Towle said.
Throughout the protest, many cars passed by and honked in support, yet many also honked in retaliation. Some even showed disapproving faces and middle fingers, emitted smoke from their cars onto the protesters and shouted the phrase ‘Trump 2020.’
“When we’re on the corner and we’re standing there with a sign, it’s really baffling to see people drive by and scream[ing] the way that they did, us[ing] racial slurs and associating the Black Lives Matter movement [against] Trump,” Towle said. “It’s just astonishing that someone can hate just a few kids standing on the side of the road when they can easily just drive away. It shouldn’t be about politics. It has nothing to do with the Republican Party and the Democrats or Trump and Biden; it’s people’s lives.”
However, despite the hate, Towle still holds no ill will towards any of the people that disapproved of the message she hopes to promote. Towle believed that it’s ok to disagree since she’s not going to stop fighting for what she believes in.
“I didn’t expect to see so many people supporting the movement in Davie and it shows how much support people have for the Black community.”Senior Mya Waldron
“I feel like, in society, there’s a disconnect between everyone because people tend to push away from what they don’t agree with,” Towle said. “I’m the type of person where if I’m on the side of the road and I see a Trump supporter or anyone in general that gets mad at me for having different views, I want to talk it out with them and to try and understand where they’re coming from.”
Sydney Towle plans to continue to stand on that corner and to speak her mind with another Saturday protest in the works.
“It was really nice to see the turnout for the protest. I didn’t expect to see so many people supporting the movement in Davie and it shows how much support people have for the Black community,” senior Mya Waldron said. “I even got to make some new friends while I was there. It was a great way to bring people together and I can’t wait to go to another one.”
Photo courtesy of Sydney Towle