NEWBERRY, S.C. (WIS) - Newberry is a majority African-American city less than a tenth the size of Columbia, but on June 7, hundreds in the small city were determined to set an example for the rest of the country.
Hosted by the Newberry County NAACP, city leaders, law enforcement officials, residents and activists gathered in the heat Sunday afternoon for a unity rally in the wake of the death of George Floyd and other protests happening across the world.
“It’s a beautiful thing to see everyone come together for the same cause it’s time that we let people know that we are fed up.” said event volunteer Antony Caldwell.
Organizers expected about a hundred people to attend because they only made one Facebook event and handed out a few physical flyers. However the day of the event, they had three to four times the amount of participants than they had originally expected.
They all came together in front of the county courthouse to call for an end to police brutality and demand racial justice.
"Seeing rural towns like this really step up and show out for their community. It's indescribable how much that means," said one of the organizers Amy Tilden.
The county sheriff, police chief, mayor and the president of the local NAACP chapter all addressed the crowd and praised this show of peace.
“We are a city of loving people. This is what America is and what America should be,” Caldwell said.
However, attendees said this was just a first step in the region's fight for change.
“We are coming to a place where we can have an open conversation. There are things in our community that we need to address,” Tilden said.