VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Protesters sent a stern message Friday night – they will not stand for hate.
“We all should just live happy together,” said James Washington Jr., a BLM 757 protester. “We should be coming together not going back.”
Black Lives Matter 757 demonstrators gathered on Jessamine Court, standing shoulder to shoulder with the Virginia Beach neighborhood. It comes after the community captured national news headlines around the country.
Jannique Martinez claims her next door neighbor has been harassing her and others on the street for several months by playing loud, derogatory music with undertones of racial slurs and monkey noises. The banjo-like music and strobe lights were triggered by motion sensors.
“This is 2021,” said BLM 757 Protester Pops Holmes. “This lady and her family had to deal with the same type of stuff that my grandfather had to deal with. We just want to let him know it's not going to be tolerated.”
News 3 spoke with Martinez who said she appreciates the community coming together to show support. The demonstration caught the attention of other neighbors who say people who don't respect one another, don’t belong here.
“People like this are going to continue to exist,” said one neighbor. “I just wish they'd move. That's all I can say about it. I just wish they’d move out of here, out of our neighborhood.”
News 3 tried talking to the neighbor, but he didn’t answer his door.
The music and noises coming from the home have since stopped. Police said while the behavior is disturbing, it’s not a crime and doesn’t violate city ordinances.
Attorney General Mark Herring took to Twitter to condemn the man’s actions, saying the civil rights office has been in touch with the family and is working to put an end to the alleged abuse.
“It’s time for us to take a stand against racism in our communities today,” said Washington.
The city has been under a microscope.
This latest controversy comes on the heels of rapper Pharrell Williams canceling his Something in the Water music festival because of the city’s “toxic energy.” Additionally, in the spring, Pharrell’s cousin, Donovon Lynch was shot and killed by a Beach officer.
“It's sad,” a Salem Lakes neighbor said. “It's really sad to see that in Virginia Beach. I've been living here since 2008, and I haven't observed anything like this. It's a little heartbreaking.”
Protesters said they’re trying to mend the divide they say has been plaquing the city for years.
“We still got work to do. We got to get out of this,” Washington said. “We need to sit around the table and talk about these issues that we’re facing in our communities today.”
Meantime, Martinez said she’s strongly considering moving forward with a civil lawsuit against her neighbor.