‘We need to do our part to open their eyes’: Family-oriented Black Lives Matter march strolls through Grandin Village

ROANOKE, Va. – A Black Lives Matter demonstration marched through the heart of Grandin Village Saturday afternoon, but this protest focused on families first.

“This is about the whole family structure coming out in unison with black lives and being able to do that peacefully on a beautiful morning,” said Roanoke activist Jordan Bell, who helped lead Roanoke’s first Black Lives Matter march after George Floyd’s death.

Marchers traveled down Grandin Road from Heights Community Church to its intersection with Brandon Avenue.

The crowd mainly consisted of parents and their young children, some of whom were still in strollers. Caleb Shires said he was motivated to show his two children history while it’s happening before them.

“As hard as it can be to have these discussions with the kids, we need to do our part to open their eyes,” Shires said. “This is just a small step in that process.”

Bell says the Black Lives Matter movement has come a long way since the initial march at the end of May, and demonstrations like this are signs progress is still being made.

“A lot of conversations are happening, but we hope those conversations turn into action and substance,” Bell said. “A lot has started to change in the process.”

Shires believes events like this can show kids that they, too, can be part of a change if they want to be.

“While we can’t understand what a majority of these people are going through, we can stand with them,” Shires said.