NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — “Just this year we’ve had five young lives lost," Niagara Falls resident Mikaila Carr said. "We were grieving as a community before George Floyd, and now we’re grieving as an entire nation.”
20-year-old Mikaila Carr of Niagara Falls is spearheading the peaceful protest taking place in her city on Friday.
“I would just like to make it increasingly clear that we want nothing but peace to come out of this,” she said.
The protest, which starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, is an act of solidarity for the African American community. One that Carr hopes will allow members of her community to feel like they are being heard.
“We’re hoping that after this, we can get some of those emotions out and open the door for our future and positivity moving forward,” Carr said.
“An awful lot of effort is being put in place to make sure that this demonstration is really about the message,” Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino adds.
One of Carr's main goals is to keep the peace. So, she’s assigned people to keep an eye out for potential problems and has been in close contact with the Niagara Falls Police.
“Niagara Falls is small as it is," she said. "So we can’t afford to burn down our community and rebuild it. It’s not realistic for us.”
But, if things do turn south, Police Superintendent Thomas Licata sais his force will be ready.
“It’s like everything else you prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
Carr is hoping that after the protests, real change can happen in her community, and Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino is all on board.
“We have to, at some point, go from expressing ourselves to accomplishing things,” he said.
"It’s a marathon, not a sprint," Carr adds. "We have to show up where it counts over and over again. And if I have to spend my entire life trying to make a difference so that my daughter grows up in a different world and community than I did, then that’s fine. That’s what I gotta do. “