More than 100 children and their parents marched together against racism and police brutality on Sunday in a park in North Las Vegas.
The kids chanted “Black Lives Matter, Our Lives Matter, My Life Counts” as they walked around the plaza at Craig Ranch Regional Park, run by 11-year-old Kumei Tenorio-Norwood, who organized the rally via social networks.
“I wanted to do this because of how I feel about things going on right now, the way black people are dying, and it made me think about the emotions of other children,” Kumei said before the walk.
She used the Instagram and Facebook pages of her company, Tofu Tees, to spread the word.
“I wanted them to be able to say something and make it all stand out,” she said.
Kumei started Tofu Tees in 2017 after finding a funny phrase written on an old notebook and starting putting it on shirts. She has been an artist and entrepreneur since the age of 5 and now sells her designs online.
More recently, she started giving out wish bracelets with beads that spelled “BLM,” asking that payment be made in the form of donations to the Vegas Freedom Fund, which raises money to post bail for people who don’t. do not have the means.
“We watched a lot of protests and then we watched the protests unfold alongside the riots and they weren’t, you know, not affiliated,” said her mother, Tiarre Norwood. “We just wanted to give him and his friends a way to express themselves.”
After posting flyers for the rally on Tofu Tees Instagram and Facebook pages, people began to contact her to donate food and supplies.
Kumei expected less than 50 people to show up at the rally, but quickly realized that many more would arrive after seeing how shared the messages were. The first thing she noticed, she said, was that her Instagram following grew from just over 500 to over 1,000.
“Children are very observant”
Before the rally began, the children and parents together made placards to carry during the march.
Rae Clark brought her son, 2020 graduate Richard Clark, and grandson Ceidon McCloud, as she wanted them to have a way to express their emotions and feel their voice matters.
“You find yourself trying to find the words to explain to your kids, your nieces and nephews, what’s going on in life,” Rae Clark said as Richard held Ceidon in his lap and helped the toddler through. paint “Black Lives Matter” on a poster board.
“And that conversation can be difficult sometimes because you don’t want to sound negative,” she said. “In light of everything that’s going on in life and in politics, you don’t want to teach them to be afraid of everything and everyone. “
After Kumei led the children in their own walk, she allowed their parents to join in a longer walk around part of the park.
They had scrawled their own messages on their posters, but they echoed the same messages seen at large-scale protests across the United States
“Kids are very observant, and you don’t realize how good children are to watch,” said Rae Clark. “And even though they don’t understand the ‘why’, they understand the result, they understand the ‘well, that was wrong.'”
After the walk, the children played together while their parents cleaned up. Zach Dorsey, a young boy, led other children in songs with a megaphone and passed it around for everyone to have their turn.
Before the end of the day, his mother, Zyera Dorsey, borrowed him. She warned the teens present at the rally to stay away from the protest scheduled for Sunday evening.
“Yesterday we failed as adults because two 16-year-olds were arrested,” Zyera Dorsey said, referring to a series of arrests of protesters on Saturday night which led Governor Steve Sisolak to ask for a investigation.
“You spend hours in jail for nothing, and that’s not good,” she said. “I deeply appreciate your support, young people, because one day you will be here in my place doing the exact same thing. “
Kumei was the last to speak. She quickly thanked everyone for coming, then stopped as the crowd cheered.
Then she added: “And black lives matter!”
And the crowd of children applauded louder.