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Building a movement beyond the protests

Baltimore leaders bring buses of young people to Annapolis protest
Posted at 10:20 PM, Jun 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 23:26:45-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — From Dunbar High School to the lawn of the statehouse, local leaders brought a group of young people to Annapolis to march for justice.

Guiding people with his voice is nothing new for Big Fred Watkins Jr.

“Preaching confidence, teamwork, friendship and those things,” Watkins Jr. said.

Watkins is a comedian with a company called Lil’ Laughs.

He’s committed his life to lifting up young people in Baltimore through comedy. His focus is on putting an end to bullying.

He said one of the worst and most oppressive forms of bullying is police brutality.

“We talk about bullying in all forms, some of those things like the lack of respect shown, ageism, all those things are forms of bullying definitely.”

While the traditional classrooms are closed, he took a group of youngsters to Annapolis to talk about the issues and be a part of history.

“Kids like myself come from unprivileged backgrounds, under served communities,” said 20-year-old Antonio Moore. “To be civically engaged or to want to be a part of the change is kinda hard because we never see these types of things work out for us. We see the national news we made in 2015. We see how a lot of the times the struggles are publicized and people come join but it’s never turned into a movement that’s sustainable.”

They are calling for more than just an end to police brutality.

They want equal opportunities, resources, housing and adequate schools.

Wesley Hawkins with the Nolita Project partnered up with Watkins to bring the kids to the capital

“We actually are protesting for the same things 60 years ago that we’re protesting for in 2020,” Hawkins said. “We actually have to teach the kids and the adults that these things are important. We gotta fight for a better community, we gotta fight for a better future and we all have to fight for our kids.”

While the crowds are still showing up daily — there's hope that seeing this ignites a real spark of change.

Shaleece Williams with the Tree House Project hopes that when the protests die down people keep fighting for justice.

“This will die down when it’s no longer popular but we’re still going to be facing this issue. We have to just keep this going. Follow organizations like the Tree House Project, Lil Laughs, and the Nolita Project to see what we are really doing everyday.”

Here are some links to those organizations showing the work they do in our communities everyday.

Big Fred Comedy

The Nolita Project

Tree House Project Inc.