Local activists grapple with how to best communicate a unified message.

The scene outside of Mayor Andrew Ginther’s North Side home on Saturday morning felt like part protest, part block party, as a couple hundred attendees, most wearing masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, gathered to chant, listen to speeches and generally make their voices heard. Toward the rear, a smattering of children played in the cul-de-sac, darting around strollers pushed by protesting parents.

The gathering, organized by Black, Queer & Intersectional Collective (BQIC) and Columbus Freedom Coalition (CFC), continued the more than two weeks of protests that have sprung up locally following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, protests more deeply rooted in a number of high-profile shooting deaths perpetrated by the Columbus police in recent years — the victims of which appeared on signs dotting the crowd: “Justice for Donna”; “Justice for Julius Tate Jr.”; “Justice for Ty’re King.”

Throughout, organizers delivered impassioned speeches, read related passages from authors like James Baldwin and led the crowd in chants, many driven by an assortment of tambourines, cowbells and hand drums toted by attendees. “Brick by brick, wall by wall,” the people chanted, “we will make the prisons fall.”

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