4 minute read

Black Lives Matter OKC – Oklahoma City is organizing the Children’s March for Justice that will travel from F.D. Moon Middle School to Douglass High School Sunday, June 21 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

The march was originated and planned by elementary, middle school and high school students concerned to do their part to demand “that police stop killing black and brown people.”

Once marchers arrive at Douglass some of the original sit-inners from the Civil Rights Movement in Oklahoma City will give encouragement to the youngest and “symbolically pass the torch to this younger generation of civil rights pioneers,” said advisor Camille Landry.

Announcement statements

A core of youth and children who are hoping to develop a youth group within Black Lives Matter – OKC held a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Here are parts of what the organizing students had to say about their motivations and reasons for wanting to take on activist roles themselves.

“As young people in our society, we are often overlooked and underestimated,” said Dylan Gilyard. “Often when we have a problem it is never acknowledged and it is put off. The education system is failing to educate minorities by not representing us in history books.”

youth and children's march
Dylan Gilyard reads one of many announcement statements at the news conference for the Children’s March for Justice Sunday, June 21. (Brett Dickerson/Okla City Free Press)

Students pointed out that even though Oklahoma History is required for graduation, few students have been taught about the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921.

“We are having the march because young minorities are terrified to have encounters with the police,” said Joceline Aguilar. “We see all of these young black men and women being killed. This heightens our fear and the people that we were told would protect us. These events are in the past or in some faraway place. They happen in our backyard.”

Jaylyn Gardner focused on the new attention being paid by more people in society and the news media as protests have spread nationwide.

“The marches are happening now and the world is finally listening to our voices being amplified to fight for our history to be taught and not least over to fight the oppression that students face in our state and even in our country,” said Aguilar.

“I think it’s just going to be a very empowering event for young minorities,” added Gardner. “And it’s just going to show that we are powerful, and we are going to be the generation that’s going to make this change.”

“All minorities”

Free Press talked with Jalen Gardner and Joceline Aguilar after the news conference.

Gardner told us that the initial name for the group is “Black Lives Matter OKC Youth League.” But, once the group is formed they will decide on a permanent name.

She said, “We’re going to be doing a lot more things other than this march in the coming future. So hopefully we can recruit new members through this event.”

Children's March for Justice
Jaylyn Gardner (L) and Joceline Aguilar are ready to form a youth league. (Brett Dickerson/Okla City Free Press)

Aguilar closed out the conversation.

“I just wanted to say that the Black Lives Matter movement is for all minorities that have been oppressed in this country because we built this country together despite everything. And we’re powerful, and we’re going to show the people empowered, that we are powerful, and that we can make change.”

What to bring

Here is what the Black Lives Matter event page says to bring:

  • Water, mask, sunscreen, hat, umbrella
  • Signs (or make a sign @ Moon School)
  • Lawn chair (for adults & overflow seating)

March security will be present and will keep students safe from traffic on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Advisors

Rodney Cox and Joshua Harris-Till have been directly involved in advising the youth behind the event with Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson and Camille Landry giving added support.

Children's March for Justice
The entire group that held the news conference announcing the Children’s March for Justice. (Brett Dickerson/Okla City Free Press)

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