Union County “March and Empowerment Day”

The Union County community marched together in solidarity to fight for racial equality. Community groups attended the peaceful march to show their support.
Published: Jun. 27, 2020 at 8:14 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -A peaceful march in one-north central Florida county brought the community together in solidarity.

The sound of gospel music greeted marchers as they marched to Lakeside Park in Lake Butler. Members of the Union County community took to the streets for the “March and Empowerment Day” aimed at bringing the community together, standing up for racial equality.

The organizer of the event, Pastor Patrick Maxwell, said the purpose of the march is to lift the spirits of the community.

"We don't even see this as a protest, we did march, but we sold this as an empowerment day. Hopefully, an enlightening time for those who were here," said Maxwell.

That enlightenment was offered to attendees through the eyes of groups who have strong community relations in union county. "20 Strong," a group of black men from all backgrounds offered the community insight into how they help the young, old, and everyone in between. Members of the group, each with different life experiences, also teach members of their community to have a positive outlook on life and other people in society.

" We wanted to put a mixture of people in this group to show that you can change. And to show people in our community don't always judge somebody by their past, judge them where they stand here today," said Green.

Green said the group's goal is simple.

"We are here for every youth. We want to show them what it looks like to get on your feet; we want to show them what it looks like when you fall get back up. We just want to be a positive role model in our community for all youth," said Green.

Hundreds of people came out to the event. Maxwell said the large turnout shows support for their cause among the union county community.

“We don’t have the problems in our community, but I feel like that we should at least have solidarity and empathy, to feel the pain of what is going on in the rest of our nation,” said Maxwell.

Union County Sheriff Brad Whitehead echoed a similar message.

"We have something different than most other counties in the state, and the country have. We have a unity group. We're all one group, we're one big family here, and we don't have the problems that most of the other places in our country have," said Sheriff Whitehead.

Before the event wrapped up, the crowd recognized the people who they are marching to honor.

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