Protesting With Art: How Neighbors Are Getting Their Kids Involved

Protesting With Art: How Neighbors Are Getting Their Kids Involved

KENSINGTON – Thousands of people have been marching and engaging in peaceful protests for the past week, however, not everyone who supports the message can join the marches – there is a pandemic in the city. Our neighbors have been finding other ways to show support and talk to and encourage their young kids to participate in the current movement whereby the country demands justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other black people senselessly killed at the hands of police.

“I usually take my kids to protests, but I haven’t wanted to do so this time because of COVID,” Nicole Block from Kensington told us. “Still, we really felt the need to do something. So yesterday, I spent some time with Anna, 11, and George, 7, letting them know exactly what happened to George Floyd, what was happening with the protests, and what they need to think about concerning their role in all of this as white advocates for their friends and neighbors. George and I spoke at length about how he and George Floyd shared a name, but how he would have been treated quite differently due to the color of his skin.

Nicole Block with her kids and their handmade signs. Courtesy of Nicole Block.

“I asked them to write out their own protest signs at lunchtime. And at 5:30, we went outside as a family to protest. Each of them made 2 signs, so my husband Dave and I each carried 1 of their signs. We walked up, across, and down Ocean Parkway. When we got back home, we sat outside for a while with our signs up for people to read as they passed by.

“George’s sign was my favorite. ‘I am George too. But I get treated differently.’”

Nicole Block’s son George with his hand-drawn sign. Courtesy of Nicole Block.

Nicole noted that even though they’re doing their best to stay safe during the pandemic, “we can’t avoid our participation in this moment.”

Kensington resident Kira Onodera-Harrow has prompted her kids, ages five-and-a-half and three, to write messages of support in chalk on the sidewalk.

“We will be doing this every day until the other police officers are arrested who let George Floyd die,” Onodera-Harrow told us. People have given me weird looks and stared but I keep going. My hope is that people feel a little sense of the love and support that surrounds them. I’m trying to feel part of my community in a meaningful way.”

One of Kira Onodera-Harrow’s children with their chalk drawing. Courtesy of Kira Onodera-Harrow.

Their first message was a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.: “No one is free until we are all free.”