BLM protesters Sunday

Protesters stand with signs against racial injustice in Land Title Plaza on Main Street on Sunday.

At 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon, around 150 mask-wearing, sign-toting, peaceful protesters gathered on the sidewalk in front of Land Title Plaza in downtown Walla Walla.

Organized by the Black Lives Matter Walla Walla chapter, the event centered around getting people to register to vote.

Rally organizers and volunteers walked around the gathering with clipboards, asking people if they were registered to vote and assisting in the registration process at a nearby table.

By the end of the roughly two-hour rally that peaked in numbers around 3:45 p.m., dozens of people showed up to get registered and protesters of all ages were in attendance.

They carried signs reading “Black Lives Matter” and “End police brutality” — phrases that have become fixtures in Black Lives Matter Main Street demonstrations — along with some new messages, such as “Stand up for justice for all and vote” and “Democracy is not a spectator sport.”

With the Washington primaries opening on July 17, these on-theme sentiments emphasized the integral role that voting plays in creating change.

Izabelle Brashear-Simmons, who helped get people registered at the event, discussed why it’s important to exercise the right to vote.

“We need to vote out racism, and we need to vote out people who have been shown to be prejudiced, because if we’re supposed to be under a law that is equal to all, how are we supposed to do that when there are people enacting prejudices against people within the legal system?” she said.

Helping people recognize that voting is a crucial component of eradicating racist policy, the Black Lives Matter Walla Walla chapter founder Lindsey Luna organized this event to highlight its role in battling injustices.

Luna facilitated the protest with her team, which consists of Ruth Martinez, Julissa Arellano, Tolu Oyefeso and Cia Cortinas.

With less than three weeks away from the primaries, the event was a call to action for people to make it out to the polls and enact their civil liberties to combat racism on a governmental level.

Ann Karneus can be reached at annkarneus@wwub.com.