Originally posted at 11:05 p.m. May 28. Updated at 9:44 a.m. on May 29.
FRAMINGHAM – In 2016, Kelvin Rivera led the Framingham High boys volleyball team to a state championship.
Today, he led a protest against police brutality in the wake of a death of a black man in custody by Minneapolis Police died earlier this week.
Rivera, a 2016 graduate of Framingham high, said he organized the protest in Saxonville, as he “feels afraid when he gets out on the street.”
Rivera, 22, who came to Framingham from Puerto Rico when he was a teenager, said he was pulled over once by police for failure to stop at a stop sign. He said he panicked and got out of the vehicle. The officer demanded he get on the ground immediately.
“It’s an honest feeling I have of being afraid,” said Rivera.
On Monday, while handcuffed George Floyd died in police custody in Minneappolis.
A white police officer Derek Chauvin pushed his knee into Floyd’s neck, as he cried that he could not breathe.
On Tuesday, Chauvin and three other police officers were fired, after a bystander’s video showed the incident.
Ironically, Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins said George Floyd and fired police officer Chauvin knew each other for many years because they worked security at the same night club.
The FBI is now investigating the death.
Rivera, who organized the entire protest, said he was mainly wanted to raise awareness.
About two dozen former Framingham High students, mainly from the Class of 2016 and 2018, participated in the protest on Concord Street across from A street on Thursday afternoon.
“I was so proud to see so many young people come together to protest the deep injustices that exist in this country. I’m especially proud of Kelvin Rivera for organizing this,” said Jake Binnall, who was the 2016 Framingham High Class President.
“How many tragedies, murders, and acts of racial violence need to happen before we as a society do something? How many lives lost? That is what today is about. That is why we’re here,” said Binnall, a UMass Amherst graduate and chair of the Framingham Republican Committee.
“I participated in the protest today because I believe there is such a need to spread awareness about the various racial injustices occuring around the country, as well as use my voice for good,” said Framingham High Clss of 2018 Vice President Hannah Levine.
“We are young, and the future, so it is important for us to speak up,” said Rivera.
“As a white woman, I recognize my privilege and feel it it necessary to continue to help create change even in a small way. Today, I, along with graduated of FHS from various years protested throughout the day and helped to spread the message that black lives matter and justice is needed now,” said Levine, a Salem State University student.
In 2018, Catherine Turner was one of a couple of students who staged a walkout and protest at Framingham High after the school shootings in Parkland, Florida.
Yesterday, she was holding a sign protesting the injustice in Minnesapolis.
““i wanted to come out today to help join the protests against police brutality and racial justice. as a white woman, i have an incredible amount of privilege in this country and i wanted to do something good with it,” said Turner.
“It feels like every 2 weeks there’s a new headline of an innocent black man or woman murdered and i’m so sick and tired of it. this country needs to change,” said Turner, a student at American University.
A second protest is scheduled for Friday, starting at Target on Route 30, moving down Route 30, To Route 126, to Rout 135, and then to Speen Street in Natick, and back to Target. It will start at 12:45 p.m.