Hundreds marched through Marysville on Thursday, in a demonstration organized by students, the YMCA of Snohomish County, the city of Marysville, the Tulalip Tribes and more. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Hundreds marched through Marysville on Thursday, in a demonstration organized by students, the YMCA of Snohomish County, the city of Marysville, the Tulalip Tribes and more. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Marchers in Marysville denounce racism in youth-led protest

High school students helped organize a peaceful demonstration of hundreds of people Thursday.

MARYSVILLE — Hundreds gathered Thursday as young people spoke out against racism and told stories of ways they’ve experienced it in their lives, their voices echoing through Jennings Park.

Teenagers from Black Student Unions in Marysville’s high schools helped organize the afternoon march, and partnered with the local YMCA, the city of Marysville and the Tulalip Tribes, along with others.

The demonstration was a response to recent killings of black people by police around the country, including those of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd.

“Folks, racism is taught and ignorance is from the lack of knowledge,” Jenasis Lee, 17, told the crowd. “I feel after this our long-term goal should be to educate all of our friends, family, community members on what being black truly is. Especially in our schools. It pains me to say that in my almost 12 years of schooling, I have not learned one thing about my people in class.”

Superintendent Jason Thompson also spoke, and pledged to begin action that ends racism in schools.

After hearing from about a dozen speakers, the large group headed to the streets and walked about 2 miles through the city. The crowd was so large that, at times, different chants broke out in separate areas.

Members of the Tulalip Tribes played drums and sang as they walked through the city’s core. Many waved signs.

They ended at Ebey Waterfront Park, where many agreed, this is only the beginning of change.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192;; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

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