Car procession reminds Springfield that Black Lives Matter

BLM SPI also announced this year’s scholarship recipients.
A line of cars head out as part of the BLM SPI Car Procession on Saturday, May 27. Photo by Mairi McGilvrie

SPRINGFIELD – Black Lives Matter-Springfield (BLM SPI) held their fourth annual car procession on Saturday, May 27.

The event started during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow people to protest for racial justice while maintaining social distancing. Although pandemic restrictions have ended, the procession has become a tradition and another option for people to show their support. More than 3,000 cars showed up for the first event, actually gridlocking downtown Springfield.

“We drive for those that have been taken from us at the hands of police,” said Sunshine Clemons, BLM SPI co-founder. “But we also drive for those that are here that we want to honor. We want to say your life matters and we don’t want to wait until something tragic happens to celebrate that.”

BLM SPI also announced this year’s scholarship requirements. The theme of this year’s scholarship essay was Nina Simone’s song “Young, Gifted and Black.”

Clarissa Harrington of Southeast High School, Bryson Thomas of Springfield High School and Jayden Saunders of Chatham High School all received scholarships. Harrington and Thomas were both present to receive their scholarships. Saunders was unable to attend since he was competing at a track meet. Each received a $1,000 scholarship to put toward their college education, an increase over last year’s $500.

Clemons said this year’s procession, which had at least 25 cars driving a two mile route just east of downtown, was a success.

“I’m excited by the turn out,” she said. “We had really excited people.” Other drivers and people along the route honked their horns or cheered in support as the procession drove by.

Clemons said that the original procession also kicked off the Springfield City Council voting May 31 Black Lives Matter Solidarity Day.

“This event is to honor that and also to remind people to find ways to celebrate Black lives in your own way,” she said.

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