Peaceful, Organized, and Energized: Howard County Youth Collective Leads Thousands in Vigil for George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter Movement

Led by former graduate of Wilde Lake, Saquan Maxwell, and the youth collective “Hoco For Justice,” thousands gathered yesterday to protest and hold a vigil after the senseless murder of George Floyd now two weeks ago. After viewing nation-wide protests on the news and social media, some of which have descended into violence, looting, and rioting,  “Hoco For Justice” organized an Instagram account to spread educational resources about racial injustice and inform their following of over 2,000 of their march and vigil. The result was an energized and peaceful gathering of people of all races and ethnicities coming together to support the nation-wide movement against racism. 

Alexis Jones, a recent graduate of Wilde Lake, was surprised to see how much support the Black Lives Matter movement was receiving after George Floyd’s murder. Jones was happy when she saw all of the support. “Everyone is helping and standing with the black community around the world, and I’m ecstatic,” she says. “I just hope that people will keep protesting and using their voices, not just to be a part of a trend.”

Abigail Young, a white student and a rising senior is frustrated with the systemic racism in this country. “The fact that the color of your skin determines who you are in society is absolutely disgusting.” She is also upset with the term “All Lives Matter,” used by those who counter the Black Lives Matter movement. She states, “Yes, of course all lives have value, but not all lives are being targeted right now.”

Brian Ihejurobi, a rising senior, is supportive of the march because, he says, he feels terrified in this society. “I’m very scared. Not only for myself but for my family and friends, as well.” Ihejurobi has even said that he has feared that his father may not come home from work during these times. “He [Ihejurobi’s father] mentioned how police have made attempts to provoke him, but he would not give in because he was knowledgeable of his rights.”

At Wilde Lake High School, there are students who agree with the looting going on at some protests, and some who disagree. Vaniya Khan, a rising senior, agrees with the protests, and believes that while they should try to remain peaceful, “…the violence that has occurred is going to make the change.”

The peaceful event left many feeling empowered to fight for justice. “It gave people a voice,” said Mr. Townsend, “and that’s what we need right now.”