Protesters in Richland, Washington took to the streets around John Dam Plaza on May 30, to protest the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. People came from all over the Tri-Cities to show solidarity with protesters across the country fighting against police brutality and racism. Between 200 and 300 people were in attendance at the height of the action.
The Richland protest was put together by local community member Jaime Torres. The call for the event was put up on Facebook the night before. According to Torres’ Facebook post, “I honestly was just going to show up tomorrow morning by myself at the John Dam plaza in Richland. I made a post about it first and it quickly gained traction and snowballed. I received multiple messages to create an event so I did… I love that my community is coming together for this great cause! My heart is heavy for George Floyd and his family and for countless other families who never received Justice.“
Local organizations, including the Party for Socialism and Liberation of Washington State, organizers for the Tri-Cities Womxn’s March, and others, showed up to lend their support in organizing the protests. The protest was set to run from 11am to 2pm. Organizers showed up early to mark out social distancing protocols, provide sign-making materials, set up water and food for protesters, and arrange other needed tools and supplies.
Despite the short notice given for the protest, people began pouring into the plaza at 11 am. By 1 pm, hundreds of protesters had arrived, and had begun to move out into the streets. A few members of the community led chants, and protesters marched, circling the Richland Police Department and passing by Richland City Hall and the Richland U.S. District Court. Chants of “No Justice, No Peace” and “Black Lives Matter” carried through the march. Speeches were given outside the Richland Police Department at the end of the first leg of the march.
After returning to the main street, another march started down to the Columbia Riverfront. Police began to cordon off the streets and redirect traffic during this action, but protesters adjusted their march and kept the peace. When this second march was concluded, protesters returned to John Dam Plaza and assembled first in the streets, and then in the amphitheater. There, they exchanged words of solidarity and stories of support, until gradually dispersing.A second protest is planned for May 31, 11 am-4 pm, at the intersection of 20th Ave and Court St in Pasco, Wa. This location was the site of protests in February of 2015, over the shooting of Antonio Zambrano-Montes by three officers of the Pasco Police Department.