Marcus Burris suggested that his mother have a mobile protest, and a record-breaking 379 vehicles paraded June 4 in a peaceful protest. It began and ended at the Morganton Road Sports Complex in Southern Pines after sweeping through Moore County. The protest was organized after George Floyd died while in police custody May 25 in Minnesota. Vehicles were decorated with colorful signage and passengers waved signs. But it did not look like the caravan was going to amount to much in the beginning.
There were only five cars ready to roll in the protest on Monday after Sherilla Horton had begun the protest campaign at the suggestion of her son, Burris. With the help of sisters Lakisha Womack and Lanisha Bailey, a grassroots movement inspired scores of locals and by the end of the event, the consensus was that Moore County was home to peacekeepers.
Horton, Womack and Bailey set up NC Impact Coalition to raise awareness about the campaign on Facebook, and directly contacted several civic groups and community members.
Southern Pines, Pinehurst, and Aberdeen police escorted the Black Lives Matter Caravan and directed traffic.
Video by Sandhills Sentinel contributor Jay Everts with Above The Pines Productions. Highway 5 and Sandpit Road in Aberdeen.
Growing 4 God Ministries from Whispering Pines called Bailey and asked if the group had a PA system and “when they said “no,” I said, you do now,” Andrew Kegley said. The ministry includes Andrew Kegley, Justin Selleck, Adam Floyd and Cody Peele.
“It was the most amazing, incredible experience and at a grassroots level and not just one race,” Southern Pines Mayor Carol Haney said, “I am overwhelmed.”
Haney’s words were echoed by the Southern Pines Chief of Police Robert Temme who added that he had the responsibility of making sure what happened in Minnesota would not happen here.
“We work very well with the community and have systems in place to prevent that,” Temme said.
“To see the Village of Pinehurst police kneeling when the caravan went by – I was blown away,” Southern Pines resident Lenisha Phillips said.
Pedestrians wave at Black Lives Matter Caravan Protestors June 4 in front of Aberdeen Elementary School.
Local mothers who had lost children during interactions with law enforcement shared their stories. Charlene Ross said that she is working on legislation to change directives for using pit maneuvers when a vehicle is traveling over 90 mph after losing her son in 2018.
Terry Garner wore a red blouse and white slacks and commented that she was white as she spoke about her loss and said, “We all bleed red.”
Mother Brenda Smith said that people needed to pull out their phones and record any human that is being assaulted because it was their right.
Horton told the crowd, largely populated with Caucasians, to go home and tell their people that it was time to mobilize.
“Look around. Look around. Go back and tell your people we need you,” Horton said.
Horton said that every skill was a needed asset and to change the culture that the NC Impact Coalition needed their help. The grassroots movement had the assistance of the National Advancement of the Advancement of Colored People, the American Legion and civic groups.
Horton said that the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s had been sabotaged, and it was time to start repairing it, beginning with Moore County.
“I’m doing this for my children,” Horton said.
“I know I am white,” speaker Anne Remington said, “I was ten when I marched in Washington with my dad for Civil Rights. I don’t want his legacy to be for nothing.”
Feature photo: Southern Pines Land and Trust Chair Vincent Gordon and Mayor Carol Haney with Lakisha Womack and Lanisha Bailey June 4 during Black Lives Matter Caravan Protest.
Article and photos by Sandhills Sentinel Journalism Intern Stephanie M. Sellers.