A man photographs a Black Lives Matter protest in Forest Grove on Tuesday, June 2. Photo: Chas Hundley

BANKS - Organizers plan a protest and march Friday evening to show solidarity with Black community members in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by police, adding Banks as the latest small town in Oregon and across the nation to hold such a demonstration.

The “Black Lives Matter - Protesting Racial Injustices in Our Society” protest is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. at Greenville City Park, announced organizer Christina Barackman, a Banks resident. 

Attendees are asked to arrive at 4:45 p.m., with a moment of silence and a few speakers kicking off the event at 5 p.m.

From there, the group — more than 80 people have said they will attend the protest on a Facebook event page for the protest as of press time — plans to travel Trellis Way to Main Street, walking up and down the sidewalks on Main Street. 

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Barackman organized the protest in Banks to create a safer environment for families to participate in the movement to protest racial inequality and injustice.

“I was prompted to organize this event because I am so moved by our country and what is occurring, unfortunately as a mother of four children, I am not comfortable being in the heart of the protest with my children,” said Barackman in an email to the Banks Post. “Therefore I am organizing a family friendly protest/rally/march to allow for our local community to come together, show support, and protest racial inequality, racial injustices, and the future of our country.”

“I plan on bringing my children, I wanted to allow this event to occur in Banks, because I know a lot of people are not comfortable going to Portland to protest,” she said on the protest’s Facebook event page. 

The protest — and thousands of others across the nation and now world —was spawned by widely-shared videos of a white officer, Derek Chauvin, pinning George Floyd, a black 46-year-old Minneapolis man to the ground with his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd repeatedly gasped “I can’t breathe” before falling unconscious. Officers had been responding to a report that Floyd had allegedly attempted to pass a counterfeit $20 bill.

Floyd died shortly after falling unconscious, and four police officers are now being charged in his death. 

According to Barackman, she has been in contact with the city of Banks to submit a permit for the protest, which Banks city manager Jolynn Becker said was submitted on Sunday, and with Deputy Ryan Pope with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, which provides contract police services to Banks. 

In a post to the event's Facebook page, Barackman said that Pope and another deputy would be present at the protest.

"They support our group, and he clearly said how [he] is proud to be a member of this community," she said.

She’s also reached out to local church leaders and the Banks High School leadership class. 

Attendees to the protest are asked to practice social distancing, wear masks and that families and groups march 6 feet apart. 

The protest follows similar events in other Washington County towns, including North Plains, Forest Grove, Hillsboro, and in cities across the state, including some towns where large scale protests are exceedingly rare.

A poster for the protest, photo courtesy protest organizers.