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In Pasco, Black Lives Matter remembers the fallen, and John Lewis

Protesters drove in a motorcade led by a hearse to remember Black Americans who have lost their lives to police violence.
A hearse led the way for a Black Lives Matter motorcade that drove through the Meadow Pointe community in Wesley Chapel on Saturday. The hearse memorialized Black Americans who have died from police violence, organizers said.
A hearse led the way for a Black Lives Matter motorcade that drove through the Meadow Pointe community in Wesley Chapel on Saturday. The hearse memorialized Black Americans who have died from police violence, organizers said. [ Josh Fiallo ]
Published Jul. 19, 2020
Updated Jul. 19, 2020

WESLEY CHAPEL — The suburbs aren’t made for marching. So a group of Black Lives Matter activists found a very suburban way of making their point Saturday:

They put together a motorcade of nearly 20 vehicles, led by a hearse to memorialize Black Americans who lost their lives to police violence. Then they drove through the expansive Meadow Pointe community.

Related: Congressman John Lewis, lion of the civil rights movement, dies at age 80

Organizer Marlowe Jones, 29, said it was a way to allow people of all ages to participate in the demonstration against police brutality and racial injustice. But it turned into an especially poignant day for them, coming hours after civil rights legend and Congressman John Lewis died late Friday.

“John Lewis was one of my heroes,” Jones said. “He’s who inspired me to become an activist. He was a pioneer that’ll be greatly missed — he was on the front lines fighting for civil rights; he was there on Bloody Sunday; he was there in the Black Caucus. He was everywhere. I know others were as saddened by his passing last night as I was.”

In this 2019 photo, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., is seen near the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Capitol Rotunda before a memorial service for the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., in Statuary Hall. Lewis died Friday at the age of 80.
In this 2019 photo, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., is seen near the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Capitol Rotunda before a memorial service for the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., in Statuary Hall. Lewis died Friday at the age of 80. [ TOM WILLIAMS | ZUMAPRESS.com ]

Lewis was the last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists who organized the 1963 March on Washington. He would go on to lead the 1965 march for black voting rights in Selma, Ala., where he was beaten on “Bloody Sunday.” Then he spent three decades in Congress. He died at the age of 80.

After completing their drive, protestors held a moment of silence for Lewis and his legacy.

Related: Remembering John Lewis, rights icon and `American hero'

Jones, the president of the Pasco Young Revolutionaries, organized the caravan along with the newly formed Black Lives Matter Pasco Chapter. The hearse was from Tampa’s Wilson Funeral Home.

While the number of cars participating was under two dozen, the motorcade showed that protests in the aftermath of the May killing of George Floyd are still prevalent — even in Pasco County, where protests have been mostly quiet — and even in the pouring rain.

“I do this for my kids and we’re not stopping,” said Jones, father of four girls, while thunder roared in the background. “Others have protested in worse but I’m still proud of the number of people out here. Not even Mother Nature can stop the movement.”