Black Cincinnati firefighters march downtown to protest racism

Updated: Jun. 10, 2020 at 10:50 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A local firefighters group led a peaceful march in Downtown Cincinnati Wednesday to protest systemic racism.

Members of the Cincinnati African American Firefighters Association marched from City Hall to the Hamilton County Courthouse.

The group has around 200 local black firefighters among its ranks.

Several Cincinnati police officers and other protesters walked beside them on the march route. Councilperson Jeff Pastor was there as well.

The group recited the familiar chants of protesters over the last two weeks: “Black Lives Matter!” “Say his name, George Floyd!” and “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!”

“George Floyd sparked the change, and we feel like it’s an opportunity for us to get our voices heard as well,” CAFA President William West said.

He explains his group has been fighting for equality in the Cincinnati Fire Department since 1995.

“The main message is to our youth,” he said. “We want to make sure we are setting a positive example for our youth. We don’t want them to think a brick through a window is a solution.”

The group passed out voting cards encouraging young people to fight back against racism at the poll booth.

“We also have a very good working relationship with our police officers,” West said. “We don’t want the community to misunderstand that all police officers are bad. We want them to get that understanding that when you call 911, it’s a positive thing, and we’re coming to help.”

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