Nevada BLM protest highlights youth involvement in community change

NEVADA, Mo.–Demonstrators with signs reading “No justice, no peace” and “how many more?” could be seen while driving alongside Earp Park in Nevada, Missouri Sunday afternoon.

Their goal–to bring awareness to those who have recently lost their lives during police encounters and to bring more awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement in their town.

“It’s something that we need to bring attention to is this entire brutality thing is terrible, it’s the hate in this area, we can’t do that, we have nothing except love and that’s what we need to be focused on,” said Lucas Conner, a social activist.

Although recent deaths that have garnered national attention haven’t been in this area, Conner said there’s still importance in talking about them in Missouri.

“So it’s a message here. Saying guys we need to focus on this, this is an issue in our great state of Missouri and we don’t want it in Nevada, Missouri and we don’t want it in the surrounding areas either,” Conner said.

Many people who came out today were in high school or younger adults.

“When it comes down to it it’s really important to get the youth involved and I am so so proud to see younger people in our community step out for what they believe in and show compassion for others,” said Lauren Harreld, a protestor at the event.

Conner added that when older generations listen to younger ones, change can be possible.

“Especially when the young people start talking, the older people start listening, and that’s the main thing we need to focus on is, if these older folks can just hear us out a little bit, we’ll be able to make actual change,” Conner said.

Harreld said protests like these in Nevada have engaged conversations in the community, that otherwise may not have happened.

“Impact on the community that is extremely positive, we saw it within our last protest that bringing out this strong opinion of compassion and love towards each other, it started all these conversations and we loved seeing people come out and ask these difficult questions for the first time, and so we’re hoping to continue that conversation,” Harreld said.

Through listening to the community youth and creating discussions, the group out today aimed to create more unity within their town.