Richmond Group Holds #BlackLivesMatter Rally, Vigil on Thursday

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Some Richmonders have joined teams to further the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the river city.

Protesters gathered yesterday, saying the city’s priorities are ballparks and bike races instead of schools, public housing and poverty.

“There are a lot of issues going on with the black residents as well as the schools,” protester Cherry Payne said. “We don’t want kids sitting in class getting hit with a piece of ceiling. They put more money into the stadium than the school so that’s what we’re trying to get across.”

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The demonstration was peaceful.

It began around 4:00 p.m. at the John Marshall Courts building before moving. They even shut down Broad Street between about 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Police allowed protesters to shut down the street.

Richmond City Council President Mosby told 8News reporter Kerri O’Brien that she thinks the group is going about their message the wrong way and says their concerns are already on the council’s radar.

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Earlier this week, this same group also stopped a city council meeting.

The group, who calls themselves Justice RVA, presented a list of complaints and demands at Richmond’s City Council meeting Monday. The group said that they want more attention to schools, public housing, the poor and the controversial Shockoe Bottom site that has been mentioned in talks about a new ballpark.

Demonstrators showed up holding signs and banners and spoke at the meeting, demanding that their requests be met. In a press release, the group said that “#BlackLivesMatter should be the priority as the 2015 City Council begins.”

“Given the historic changing of the guard on council leadership to councilwoman Michelle Mosby as the first African-American woman President of City Council, activists are calling on her to prioritize #BlackLivesMatter in her new position,” the group said in the release.

If their demands are not met, Justice RVA threatened a disruption or boycott of the 2015 UCI Road World Championships, which are set to begin in the city in September.

Richmond and the state have pledged about $7 million to help pay to hold the cycling world championships.

Protesters also held several demonstrations in early December 2014 after a grand jury declined to indict officers involved in the death of Eric Garner, the New York man who died after being placed in a choke hold.

The group is planning to hold more protests throughout the long MLK weekend.

Stay with 8News for updates.

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