Photo by Chris Tobar Rodriguez
It’s still hard for Ashanta Davis to wrap her head around the fact that a Facebook event she created last Friday could bring thousands of people to the streets of Orlando last weekend to declare "Black Lives Matter."
"I acted out of instinct when I made the event," she says. "I didn’t think it would get that big. About 1,300 people said they would come, and 2,000 people showed up. The crowd just kept getting bigger and bigger."
Now Davis is trying to keep that momentum and spirit of the event going with another march on Sunday, July 17, in Sanford's Red Barber Park, 201 E. 13th St., at 6 p.m. In the coming weeks, marches will also be held July 24 at 6 p.m. in Apopka at Alonzo Williams Park and July 31 at 6 p.m. in the Kissimmee Lakefront Park.
Davis says at the Orlando march, people helped her with organizing and by bringing water bottles and snacks. Orlando Police were also willing to help keep the route clear for marchers. Davis says it was a peaceful event where everybody was safe, and she'd like to keep it that way for the Sanford march. She's also teamed up with the local BLM chapter for the Sanford rally to keep the conversation surrounding black lives and law enforcement going after the marches are over.
"When you think of Orlando, you think of Disney," she says. "You kind of overlook what actually goes on in the city. We do have things happen here that shouldn't happen...I have faith in my community and I believe in my city. If you don’t have that love and that passion, nothing is going to change and you’re going to be waiting forever for the next person to do it."