FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Dozens of marchers gathered at Fort Lauderdale’s Stranahan Park Friday evening, made signs, meditated for a moment and then left on a nearly two-and-a-half mile march through the city’s upscale food and shopping district.
And the marchers from the groups Dream Defenders and Food Not Bombs made their voices heard chanting, “We fired up. Can’t take it no more” and “Whose streets? Our streets.”
They lent their feet and voices to the cause of solidarity Friday evening, showing their support for Freddie Gray, the Baltimore man who died while in police custody last month.
“We are here today to let people know that we stand as one no matter what race or what color we are, we stand as one,” said Marie Rattigan, with Dream Defenders.
Marchers shut down traffic and walked through Fort Lauderdale’s most upscale food and shopping area – Las Olas Boulevard – calling for an end to police brutality.
“Black and brown bodies are constantly under attack in our communities,” said Jeremy Shaw, with Dream Defenders.
Fort Lauderdale Police walked with the group asking them to stay on the sidewalk and allowing them to walk unimpeded down the middle of city’s busiest streets. There were no issues between marchers and officers.
But the marchers said one of their concerns is racism in Fort Lauderdale’s police department after three officers were fired and another resigned over a racist video and a series of racist text messages.
“We have racist cops in Fort Lauderdale Police Department and we’ve been out here and Baltimore is just another reason for us to be out here,” Shaw said.
Las Olas Boulevard was shut down for a wine and food festival on Friday evening and it made for a stark contrast between the marchers and the people sipping wine. Some pulled out their smartphones to record the marchers while others said the route the marchers chose could not have been better.
“I said, ‘Perfect timing at an event like this,'” said Sidnee Bezares.
After the two-and-a-half mile march, those rallying stopped for a brief, impromptu sit-in at one of the city’s busiest intersections – Andrews Avenue and Broward Boulevard. Then, the group dispersed promising to continue raising their voices for change.