WINCHESTER — A Black Lives Matter protest calling for criminal justice reform is scheduled for noon today on South Pleasant Valley Road sidewalks near the entrance to Walmart.

The protest is being organized by Shenandoah University graduates Danee Simmons and Whitney Woodall. Woodall said the protest will be peaceful and that participants will not block traffic. Protesters plan to hold signs.

Although three protests for racial justice have been held recently in Winchester, Woodall said much work still needs to be done.

“I’ve posted a lot on social media, and I just keep getting the same types of responses and comments back that, ‘This isn’t really an issue’ and ‘all lives matter’ and stuff like that,” Woodall said. “So I just want to change someone’s mind. That’s why we are doing it in a very public place where there’s a lot of traffic. So hopefully somebody that’s passing by maybe thinks and they can stop and talk to us and figure out why we are protesting and what the issues actually are.”

Woodall, who just graduated with a degree in criminal justice from Shenandoah University, said reforming the criminal justice system is a top priority, saying the system “is based on systemic racism.” She expects the protest to last several hours, rain or shine.

“We are open to talk. We are not there to confront anybody or to be non-peaceful. We want to be there to educate and talk about these issues. If anybody wants to come talk to us or debate, they are more than welcome.”

Protests against racism and police brutality have been held around the world since the May 25 police killing of 46-year-old George Floyd, a black man who died in custody while a white officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

— Contact Josh Janney at jjanney@winchesterstar.com

(14) comments

wwoodall

Also, we did wear masks and follow social distancing requirements.

wwoodall

We did not need a permit because we did not block traffic or march. Walmart did not lose any business, again, because we did not block any traffic or entrances. And of course “all lives matter,” but “all lives” are not the targets of police brutality, black lives are, so it seems like everyone needs to be reminded that they do indeed matter. Hence, the movement. If you really wanted to debate these issues, you could have come and spoken to us in person. And if you are tired of hearing about racism, imagine how black people feel having to experience it.

Americanwoman741

all lives matter. Period.

Bryan.the.Nuri

If black lives don't matter, how can all lives matter?

Jasba64

People are not going to put up with this much longer. They are disrupting everyone's lives. Walmart will lose a lot of business.

Bryan.the.Nuri

Poor baby. I guess you have been inconvenienced enough by these protests?

Americanwoman741

Poor baby... I guess you buy into all this systemic racism bullbutter. All lives matter.

Bryan.the.Nuri

Will "All holidays matter" later this year? Or will you flip your lid in the War on Christmas?

"All lives matter" is a dogwhistle for bigots. All lives won't matter if black lives don't matter.

Doc Samson

"a dogwhistle for bigots" = L.O.L. Yes, by stating ALL lives (including black ones) are EQUAL, you are a bigot. How insane is that? The Left is currently judging EVERYONE by the color of their skin. MLK would be proud, no doubt...

Americanwoman741

I totally agree

Bryan.the.Nuri

So you would say that every American is equal and that all lives matter, right? So would you want to be treated like a black person is treated by the police? Step right up.

Journey2goremtns1

Did they get a permit? Will social distancing be enforced by Winchester police? If protesters are allowed to violate COVID-19 regulations on a daily basis, all businesses in Winchester should be allowed to open at full capacity! Catering to Radicals is a disgrace!

Bryan.the.Nuri

*yawn*

PT

Excellent!

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