Written by Lucero Benitez, COSS Communications Specialist

In one of the largest demonstrations in Fresno’s recent history, about 3,000 thousand people peacefully protested following George Floyd’s Memorial Day death while in Minneapolis police custody.

During the downtown Fresno demonstration on May 31, attendees held signs, banners and chanted in a call for justice and action. The event was organized by the Fresno State NAACP chapter, including Denise Rogers-Heydt, a sociology student from the College of Social Sciences.

“We did it this way because we wanted our elected officials to not have an excuse to not hear or address our concerns,” said Rogers-Heydt, a senior who helped organize the protest. “Doing this in a violent or aggressive way would have been distracting, it would have taken attention away from the black community and the actual struggles.”

Rogers-Heydt said that what she’s learned while studying sociology has given her a better understanding of humanity. She’s become more empathetic and wants to do more for the community.

She has researched eviction rates in Fresno County, and she said she found inequalities across the Central Valley. In helping organize the protest it was important to her to address the issues people are facing, and demand for change in a peaceful manner.

Visit Fresno State News to continue reading the story.