Black Deaf Lives Matter demonstrators join Memphis protesters downtown

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Protesters gathered at Clayborn Temple again Friday night to rally against racial injustice.

Activist Devante Hill staged a number of protests at the I Am A Man plaza in recent days, but on Friday his group was joined by another group — a movement for the black deaf community.

They again marched on the streets of downtown Memphis and rallied against racial injustice.

Friday’s was a noticeably smaller group than nights past, but united nonetheless.

“You could have been going out for drinks,” Hill said. “You could have been out getting a margarita with your friends. You’ve been working all week. You could be at home with your feet propped up with a glass of wine, but you’re using your Friday night to make a difference.”

Hill asked everyone to stay committed to the cause, a pledge of support for all lives affected by police brutality.

“So many people are losing momentum,” one protester said. “I’m a part of that too, like we’ve been out here for 15 days, like we said. So if you can’t find the momentum in your heart to keep going yourself keep going for them, keep going for the people who can’t go for themselves.”

Friday’s demonstration began at Clayborn Temple, where Hill’s group was unexpectedly joined by another group that calls itself Black Deaf Lives Matter.

“We still have white society suppressing the black deaf,” said Kiera McGee with the Deaf Community of the Mid-South. “There are officers who do kill the deaf because the deaf people cannot hear what they’re trying to say when they’re giving orders. They say, put your hands up, but we’re trying to sign, and they think we’re becoming violent when we’re actually just signing.”

Both groups hosted separate rallies but for a moment joined forces to speak as one.

Hill is expected to host another protest Saturday with a number of pastors in attendance. It’s possible that he will discuss a petition, but no specifics on that have been released.

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