The Road to Change

Students march down Bryan road in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Minner Photography
Senior Jalen Thompson organized and led the march.

Roughly 2500 students, parents, and activists gathered at Fort Zumwalt West High School to peacefully advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement and protest the murder of George Floyd on June 1.

Floyd was a black man who was arrested by Minneapolis police officers on May 25, after a deli employee called 911, accusing Floyd of paying with a counterfeit $20 bill according to

Shortly after the officers arrival, Floyd was pinned to the ground. He later died of asphyxiation as a result of an officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes according to All four officers present at the scene of the incident have been terminated and arrested, Floyd’s death has been ruled a homicide and murder and manslaughter charges have been brought against Derek Chauvin, the former officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds according to

The protest held in O’Fallon on Monday night served as a way for the community to come together in support of change. The protest remained peaceful during a walk from Fort Zumwalt West High School to the O’Fallon Justice Center and back. The crowd marched and chanted things like “No Peace, No Justice” and “Black Lives Matter”, advocating for equal treatment of African Americans.

Following the protest came a moment of silence in remembrance of George Floyd. Protestors got down on one knee and bowed their heads to show their support of the movement and give respect.

The protest, organized by alumni Ryan Staples and Jalen Thompson, started off with a small attendance list. With the help of the O’Fallon community, posts were shared across social media. The Justice Department was notified of the march due to the newly expected attendance. Chief of Police Tim Clothier met with Staples prior to the protest and showed his support of the movement by marching hand in hand with protestors.

“I saw the unrest on the news and I decided that O’Fallon deserves to be a positive influence on the world,” alumni Ryan Staples said. “[The protest made me feel] empowered. I knew we really had the support of the community.”