Hundreds gather in Barrington 'to educate people' on black lives

  • Organizer Anya Sastry speaks during a protest supporting Black Lives Matter, held at Citizens Park in Barrington Saturday.

      Organizer Anya Sastry speaks during a protest supporting Black Lives Matter, held at Citizens Park in Barrington Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Karen McBride of Algonquin, left, and Patty Griffin of Deer Park attend a protest supporting Black Lives Matter, held at Citizens Park in Barrington Saturday.

      Karen McBride of Algonquin, left, and Patty Griffin of Deer Park attend a protest supporting Black Lives Matter, held at Citizens Park in Barrington Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • The Rev. Zina Jacque speaks during a protest supporting Black Lives Matter, held at Citizens Park in Barrington Saturday.

      The Rev. Zina Jacque speaks during a protest supporting Black Lives Matter, held at Citizens Park in Barrington Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Martina Hollinger, front, of McHenry attends a protest supporting Black Lives Matter, held at Citizens Park in Barrington Saturday.

      Martina Hollinger, front, of McHenry attends a protest supporting Black Lives Matter, held at Citizens Park in Barrington Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Hakeem Smith, the school resource police officer at Barrington High School, speaks during a protest supporting Black Lives Matter, held at Citizens Park in Barrington Saturday.

      Hakeem Smith, the school resource police officer at Barrington High School, speaks during a protest supporting Black Lives Matter, held at Citizens Park in Barrington Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • People listen to a speaker during a protest supporting Black Lives Matter, held at Citizens Park in Barrington Saturday.

      People listen to a speaker during a protest supporting Black Lives Matter, held at Citizens Park in Barrington Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/7/2020 7:58 AM

A large crowd gathered at a Barrington park Saturday afternoon to call for an end to racial injustice and police brutality in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

The Black Lives Matter protest, organized by a group of Barrington teenagers, drew hundreds of people to a field at Citizens Park near Northwest Highway and Lake Zurich Road.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We wanted to provide a wake-up call for this community," said Anya Sastry, 17, one of the organizers. "There is a national issue that has been going on for decades and centuries where black individuals in this country are experiencing oppression and injustice.

"We think it is time for Barrington to be a part of the solution," she said.

Sastry said everyone has a role to play in advocating for the rights of others. She said event organizers wanted to provide a platform for people to get educated "and be aware of what's going on in our in our country."

For nearly an hour and a half, the audience -- many holding signs -- heard from speakers, chanted slogans and remained silent for more than eight minutes in memory of Floyd, who died May 25 while he was on the ground in handcuffs with a police officer kneeling on his neck.

Event co-organizer Zoe Zakson, 18, said Floyd's death was a tipping point.

"There are protests going on all around the country," she said. "We want to educate people here."

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During an emotional speech, the Rev. Zina Jacque, pastor of the Community Church of Barrington, said she's furious because it took a video for the country to believe that "the problem my community has seen forever" is real.

She said she's also furious about the lack of spending to build housing and educate children in minority communities.

But after being furious, Jacque said she wants all of us "to be curious enough to ask how as a nation we got here."

"I want you to be curious about how we walk through this time -- not at one another's throats -- but at one another's sides," she said.

The event ended with organizers suggesting policy changes they would like to see happen. Abigail Bergan, one of the co-organizers, urged everyone to do what they can to help.

"I'd really like them to come away with ideas of what needs to change to make our society more racially equitable," the 16-year-old said.

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