ARLINGTON, Va. — As protests continue around the nation following the death of George Floyd, the Black Parents of Arlington group welcomed families and neighbors on Saturday for a special gathering and vigil for the man who died in police custody in Minneapolis in May.
Over 100 people gathered at Drew Model Elementary School, some bringing signs while others wore shirts and face masks showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Speeches from local leaders and organizations focused on calling attention to issues like police brutality and criminal justice.
Whytni Kernodle, a member of Black Parents of Arlington, highlighted the need for improvements at nearby schools.
"We need your help fighting for mandatory anti-racist training for teachers and for more classroom teachers of color," she said.
Kernodle added that the white community would need to join the effort by hiring more diverse employees.
"We need you to invest and hire black people, the indigenous and other people of color," she said.
Frances Walker attended the gathering with her young granddaughter.
As a former member of Black Parents of Arlington, she said more must be done to stop police brutality.
"Stop shooting to kill," she said. "It’s so important. Stop shooting to kill. It’s not necessary.”
Following the speeches, the crowd joined together to sing "Lift Every Voice and Sing" while lighting candles in Floyd's honor.
After seeing the support at massive protests in the area, Walker said it was important for the movement to maintain momentum.
"It’s not just about black people. It’s about all people. We have to be together," she said. "We want better. We want better for our children. We want better for our nation. We have to get along.”