Well over 400 people filled Toomer's Corner Sunday afternoon to protest against acts of police brutality.
This is the second week in a row that protesters have chanted and marched at the historic intersection of College St. and Magnolia Ave.
The event on Sunday, like similar protests which have taken place across the country in the last two weeks, comes in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man. Floyd died while a white police officer was kneeling on his neck. Videos of Floyd's death have now been seen by millions of people.
The protest in Auburn this week consisted of a march to and from the police station on N. Ross St. and a rally in Toomer's Corner.
Protesters held signs with slogans calling for an end to police brutality. Some of the most common read: "Black Lives Matter," "Stop Killing Us" and "Defund the Police."
Cars passing through the intersection could be heard blaring their horns in apparent support of the protesters on the sidewalks.
Like last week, protesters observed 8 minutes and 47 seconds of silence in front of the public safety building. This is the same amount of time that the Minneapolis police officer held his knee to Floyd's neck.
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Marching down Magnolia Avenue, protesters started chanting "No justice; no peace," "Hands up, don't shoot" and "Black lives matter."
To start the almost nine-minute-long silence, protesters took a knee and raised their fists in solidarity.
After observing the silence, protesters marched back to Toomer's Corner and continued chanting. Organizers stood in the center of Toomer's Corner while other participants circled the square.
Organizers announced a 30-minute break for protesters to eat and hydrate. Organizers were providing free water, Gatorade and granola bars at stations.
A small, black stage was set up in the middle of the intersection for speakers to address the crowd, who sat in a circle around the intersection.
One speaker discussed the issues facing black women specifically, naming black women through history who "worked hard" for their rights and exemplify the Black Lives Matter movement.
Another speaker criticized Christians who use the phrase "All Lives Matter" as opposed to "Black Lives Matter." She then lead the crowd in singing the hymn "Amazing Grace."
Another speaker, Njeri Bennett, senior in industrial systems engineering, criticized the Auburn University administration, including University President Jay Gogue.
"That letter was piss poor," she said, referring to a letter Gogue sent to students.
At around 6:15 p.m., the protest organizers officially ended the protest.
Bennett, who was also one of the event's organizers, said that Sunday's protest was only possible because of community of people working behind the scenes.
"This was a collective, a very collective effort," she said. "There was no one person in charge. We supported each other."
According to Bennett, the size of the crowd at the protest was a good indication that people are becoming more aware and more passionate.
"I just wanted people to be aware," she said. "It sounded like anger, but there is space for anger; but I just wanted people to be aware, to not take up space and to let this not be the end but the beginning."
During and after Sunday's protest, some of the rhetoric of the speeches and interviews were calls for white people to recognize the problems they are complicit in.
"White people, it's time to work a little harder — a lot harder — than you have been," Bennett said.
Jediael Fraser, one of the other organizers and speakers at the protest, said that the size of Sunday's crowd showed that Auburn is a place where change can happen.
"It tells me that people in Auburn will come out for a good cause, but that this community really needs a catalyst and really needs to be challenged to stand up," Fraser said. "I think that this community has a culture of letting things stay under the radar. This showing tells me that there is good there, and people can be pushed to criticize the systems around them."
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