RICHMOND, Va. -- Hundreds of people met at John Marshall High School Sunday morning for a holiday bike ride to cap off a three-day Black Lives Matter and COVID-19 relief event hosted by Petersburg native and R&B singer Trey Songz with his manager and best friend, Scotty Masenburg.
"It's Father's Day. Black Lives Matter, Black fathers matter, and.... We just felt like it was important to come home and give back," Masenburg said.
The ride caps off a three-day holiday weekend of events for the artist. Songz hosted a Juneteenth celebration in Richmond Friday and a "Feed Your City Challenge" event in Petersburg Saturday that distributed thousands of bags of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as PPE to the community.
"The love that's been shown has overflowed and we continue to just make advancements in our community throughout the weekend and know that in togetherness we are much stronger than we are in divisiveness," Songz said.
The two partnered with the Urban Cycling Group (UCG), an organization which connects urban communities to cycling while providing resources to improve fitness and promote a healthy lifestyle.
"Being able to support them while they support the bigger picture and to show our kids that we're here for the long-term," Priscilla Wright with UCG said. "We're not just taking this sitting down. We're to make sure that everyone understands that we are not just a one-off. We are a movement that's going to continue to move."
The ride was scheduled to last 10 miles, but along their route, the group stopped at the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue to take pictures and chant in unison what the event and movement was about: "Black Live matter! Black lives matter!”
Schiarra Hayes, who participated in the ride with son, Raphael, said he hopes this day will provide a lasting memory.
"When you build in Juneteenth and how it comes in around the same time as Father's Day and Black father's especially, it's a special meaning. And I hope it's something we can do every year for Father's Day,” Hayes said.
Songz and his manager said they plan on making this an annual event, because the message is too important to ignore.
"We will take the discrimination, the brutalization, no more," Songz said. "We're here in togetherness and solidarity to say that our lives matter."