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Las Vegas protesters push for Black Lives Matter, economic equality

Updated June 20, 2020 - 7:49 pm

A small group of protesters gathered outside of the Lloyd George Federal Courthouse on Saturday afternoon to push for economic equality and support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Organizer and Las Vegas activist Henry Thorns said the protest is centered on a call for reparations for slavery and funds to be allocated toward Black communities. He added the demonstration also supported the Black Lives Matter movement to denounce police brutality after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

“It’s all tied in together,” Thorns said

The protest began with only Thorns and his friend Minister Ricky Ormond, who said he wanted to support Thorns and advocate for reparations.

“Our ancestors never got paid for building America, and it should go to us,” Ormond said.

By around 12:30 p.m., seven people were standing in front of the courthouse, holding signs and casually talking to one another.

Las Vegas resident Ali Schempp, 35, came out with his whole family to raise awareness and support the cause of Black Lives Matter, adding that the size of the protest isn’t important.

Cars honked as Ali and his family raised their signs, with messages including “Please listen to us.”

“I don’t think it matters if it’s one person or 100 people,” Schempp said. “Everyone that drives by — you see the support.”

Jada Stinnett, who keeps her car filled with free water and first aid kits for every Black Lives Matter protest, was parked down the street from Saturday’s rally. The 22-year-old said she “wanted to make sure protesters have what they need” after the city of Las Vegas banned carrying backpacks at protests.

For 37 years, Thorns has run the nonprofit Dog Catchers Youth Foundation, a recreational center for underprivileged youth in the community, and said his district has not seen the influx of funds that other parts of the city have received.

“Where is the money? It’s not getting to us,” Thorns said.

He added that he hopes to see more funds allocated away from police departments and toward supporting Black communities.

At 1:15 p.m., most attendees had left the area, leaving only Thorns holding his Black Lives Matter poster. Thorns didn’t advertise the protest on a large scale to keep it peaceful, but said he plans on organizing larger protests in the future.

“We’ve got to keep it going,” Thorns said. “Once (the movement) dies, it’s over.”

Contact Amanda Bradford at abradford@reviewjournal.com. Follow @amandabrad_uc on Twitter.

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