Organizers from Teens4Equality speak as protestors gather in Bicentennial Mall Park in Nashville, June 4, 2020. Image courtesy Good Morning America.

In June 2020, a massive protest in Nashville in support of the Black Lives Matter movement gained international attention and drew thousands of attendees. The protest was organized on Twitter by six teenage girls: Jade Fuller, Nya Collins, Zee Thomas, Kennedy Green, Emma Rose Smith, and Mikayla Smith. Speaking on Good Morning America, Emma Rose Smith discussed their primary motivation for the protest:

“We wanted to show teenagers and youth that we need you guys and we do have a voice.”

Working over five days, the girls formed an organization, Teens 4 Equality, and organized a peaceful demonstration of over 15,000 people to protest the killings of Black men and women, including George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. Using Twitter, they reached out to other organizations in the Black Lives Matter movement and shared a flyer through individual tweets. 

The girls’ feat demonstrates both that youth can have a significant voice in social justice issues and that individuals of diverse backgrounds can work together towards the same goals. The girls, who attend different high schools, first met in person on the day of the march. The over 15,000 march participants also reflected a diversity of ages, races, denominations, and backgrounds.

When asked what she had learned by organizing her first protest, Mikayla Smith replied, “No matter what you are or who you are, if you put your mind to it, you can make a difference. A week ago I did not think I would be capable of doing something like this.”

Teens 4 Equality now has over 28,000 followers on Instagram and their own website, where individuals can sign up to receive updates on future events and ways to take action in support of Black Lives Matter.

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