NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — An estimated 10,000 marched through downtown Nashville in a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest.
Six teen girls, who created the group Teens 4 Equality, organized the rally. They provided masks, hand sanitizer and other items for participants.
Activists held signs that read, "Black Lives Matter," "Justice for George Floyd," and “End White Silence.” Teens and organizers read poems and gave emotional speeches.
By the time the march began the crowd had grown from hundreds to thousands. The crowd, made up of people of all races and ages, then marched from Bicentennial Mall to the National Museum of African American Music on Broadway and then on to the state capitol.
They stopped multiple times to sing songs, shout chants and at one point they even laid down in the street bringing attention to the death of George Floyd.
At one point, the teen organizers were brought to tears as the the group chanted, "Say his name. George Floyd." and "Say her name. Breonna Taylor."
Officers lined the street as the crowd of thousands made its way onto Broadway. However, a few black officers kneeled with protesters as a sign of solidarity.
The rally ended peacefully at Bicentennial Mall. Nashville Mayor John Cooper took to social media to express his gratitude to the teen organizers, saying "Thank you for your commitment to justice and for elevating our city’s collective conscience. I am listening, Nashville, and I am determined to work towards real, lasting change."
The Tennessee Highway Patrol also commended protesters, saying last night served as an example for the nation showing how people can unite and exercise their rights peacefully.
The organized demonstration in Nashville tonight is THE example for the nation to follow. So many people united together and exercised their constitutional rights peacefully. @TNHighwayPatrol @TNDeptofSafety pic.twitter.com/LVKDAFyQ54
— Colonel THP (@THP_Colonel) June 5, 2020
A smaller group of demonstrators continued to protest into the night by marching on Jefferson Street, Broadway and to the Historic Metro Nashville Courthouse.
Despite the rain, the small group of protesters remained in downtown late into the night.