Hundreds of protesters march on Washington Street on June 3, expressing frustration and calling for change in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Hundreds of protesters march on Washington Street on June 3, expressing frustration and calling for change in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Sequim turns out, takes stand against racism

Hundreds of citizens flocked to the intersection of Washington Street and Sequim Avenue Wednesday, protesting racism, the death of George Floyd and other black people, and police brutality.

The demonstration of between 200 and 300 individuals included a 12-block march west to Walmart before returning to Sequim’s main downtown intersection, eliciting cheers and horn-honking from motorists.

The Sequim protest comes on the heels of dozens of other demonstrations across the nation, including Port Angeles and Port Townsend.

Courtney Thomas, who organized the event through social media, said she was moved in recent days to do something locally.

“I’m scared for the world, for my son; I don’t want this world for my son,” Thomas said, with 5-year-old S. Beckett nearby holding a sign with a gathering in downtown Sequim. “We will not be silenced. We will not stand for this.

“This is the least I can do.”

Thomas said she was thrilled to see the turnout grow so large, with more than 200 people crowding the four corners at Washington Street and Sequim Avenue by noon.

“I was thinking maybe I could get 30 (to come out),” she said.

Thomas said that as a local business owner — she operates Peaceful Kneads Corrective Massage in Sequim — she hopes that anyone can feel comfortable walking into a Sequim shop. “That’s not happening right now,” she said.

Sequim police chief Sherri Crain said that the Wednesday event was a peaceful one.

She said that Staff Sgt. Sean Madison, who was at the demonstration and subsequent march, was in touch with protest organizers prior to the noontime demonstration, which was beneficial for both the group and police department.

“They were vocal; they were organized,” Crain said.

She said that though there have been some violent protests across the nation, with much of the anger directed toward police, she didn’t hear or get reports of protesters directing that toward Sequim law officers.

“We’re not getting any concerns or issues with us,” Crain said.

“This is very a emotional time — what I call a moment,” she said.

“It’s easy to see the racial unrest and problems; some part of the country are doing better than others,” she said. “There are a lot of things happening in parts of the country we as a society need to address.

“We (law enforcement departments) are learning as we go along (and) in general our profession has grown,” she said.

“There’s room for a bigger conversation.”

The City of Sequim also posted on facebook that the protests remained peaceful throughout, despite rumors to the contrary. Crain said she talked to a local business owner who during the protests posted a video warning locals of potential violence and disorderly conduct. After a conversation with that owner, the video was taken down, she said.

“I get that their heart’s in the right place, (but) rumors and bad information can do a lot of harm,” Crain said.

She said the department fielded phone calls for much of the day about what turned out to be a non-violent demonstration, calling it a “cautionary tale.”

The city’s social media post noted, “At no point at today’s event, was there any factual evidence suggesting violent or bad actors. Members of the community are reminded that rumors that get out of control can make people nervous and panic unnecessarily. During this time of national crisis, it is important to remember that people do want to be heard and we can anticipate more protests. It is in our history to support peaceful protests in our community from groups that need to be heard. The Sequim Police Department, as always, will monitor these events.

“Please disregard any rumors that members of Antifa are being bused to Sequim from out of town. There is no police intelligence to support this rumor.”

See more photos from the event here.

S. Beckett Thomas, 5, holds a “Don’t shoot” sign with mom Courtney Thomas looking on. Courtney organized the protest, saying, “I’m scared for the world, for my son. This (protest) is the least I can do.” Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

S. Beckett Thomas, 5, holds a “Don’t shoot” sign with mom Courtney Thomas looking on. Courtney organized the protest, saying, “I’m scared for the world, for my son. This (protest) is the least I can do.” Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

From left, Mackenzie Grinnell, Peter Beeler and Jaiden Dokken hold signs at the corner of Washington Street and Sequim Avenue on June 3, protesting racism and the death of George Floyd and other black people at the hands of police officers. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

From left, Mackenzie Grinnell, Peter Beeler and Jaiden Dokken hold signs at the corner of Washington Street and Sequim Avenue on June 3, protesting racism and the death of George Floyd and other black people at the hands of police officers. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Joei Darminio, left, and Allie Van De Wege join protesters at Washington Street and Sequim Avenue. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Joei Darminio, left, and Allie Van De Wege join protesters at Washington Street and Sequim Avenue. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Hundreds of protesters march east on Washington Street on June 3, decrying racism and calling for change. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Hundreds of protesters march east on Washington Street on June 3, decrying racism and calling for change. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Hundreds of protesters gather at Washington Street and Sequim Avenue on June 3. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Hundreds of protesters gather at Washington Street and Sequim Avenue on June 3. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Hundreds of protesters march east on Washington Street on June 3. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Hundreds of protesters march east on Washington Street on June 3. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

More in News

WHAT WE KNOW: Coronavirus outbreak at a glance

The latest news on the pandemic, plus symptom information and prevention tips

Holiday traced to new cases of COVID-19

A total of 11 new COVID-19 cases were tallied on the North… Continue reading

Peninsula College reels from new rule aimed at international students

About 60 international students enrolled at Peninsula College for the fall quarter… Continue reading

Three new COVID-19 cases in Clallam County

Three new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Clallam County, bringing… Continue reading

Health officers work with schools for safe reopening

North Olympic Peninsula health officials have been working with school administrators this… Continue reading

Peninsula College hosts online series, ‘Conversations Toward a Culture of Justice’

Creating a safe space for conversation and dialog during an unprecedented moment… Continue reading

Jamestown S’Klallam hotel in last stages

Workers were putting finishing touches on the new five-story 7 Cedars Hotel… Continue reading

Confirmed COVID-19 cases remain at 87 on Peninsula

Clallam and Jefferson County health officials were working to trace contacts of… Continue reading

Most Read