Dozens of people rallied in downtown Roanoke Wednesday in honor of Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
The event called Hands Up, Don't Shoot was put on by a youth group that stems from the NAACP. A memorial vigil was also held to honor Brown and his family.
Organizers say they understand that youth can sometimes be experimental and temperamental, but they want young people to be aware of their actions, as well as, learn how to develop a healthy relationship with police officers.
Roanoke Branch NAACP Chapter President Brenda Hale said, "We want them to feel comfortable with [police officers] knowing that we are not Ferguson, Missouri."
The Virginia NAACP Youth and College Division wants to also encourage young people from all across the United States to continue to hold gatherings like this in their own communities.
"I hope to see them also stand up and fight for justice for this young man, Michael Brown, because it's very important for young African American men and women to stand up for our rights," said Blake Barnes, president of the Roanoke NAACP Youth Council.
Here's a news release sent out by the Roanoke Youth Council:
In the aftermath of funeral services for Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri the Virginia NAACP Youth & College Division will host a Hands Up, Don't Shoot Prayer Vigil, March & Rally on Saturday, August 30th.
In support of this event, the Roanoke NAACP Youth Council will conduct a "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" Prayer and Memorial Vigil at 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, August 27, 2014, at the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial statute.
This PEACEFUL activity is a result of National NAACP Youth & College Division leaders urging local NAACP Youth & College Divisions Units across the U.S. to plan, participate and host activities in reaction to the killing of Michael Brown and many other very ugly incidents of police abuse and brutality in the U.S.
Participation in these events will include: NAACP Youth & College Division Units / various student groups at VA Union, VA State, Hampton, James Madison, Virginia Commonwealth, UVA, Virginia Tech & Old Dominion Universities; various NAACP Youth Councils; NAACP branches across Virginia; pastors & members from church congregations from all across Virginia; Black fraternities, sororities & Masonic Orders; bereaved and impacted family members in Virginia; community groups / organizations in Richmond, VA. and many others.
This event is being co-hosted by Hands Up, Don't Shoot Virginia and is open to the general public.
Out of respect for the bereaved Michael Brown family, in his memory along with many other bereaved families, civility is urged by ALL participants & attendees.