Protesters marched through the streets of downtown Columbia for the 13th night in a row Saturday in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.


Before starting the nightly march, demonstrators spoke at the amphitheater at Boone County courthouse about why they are protesting.


"I teach American literature and American history, and that's what this moment is," said Nicole Clemens, a teacher at Rock Bridge High School.


"It's also how I can ask my students who maybe don't experience these things, and maybe don't even have friends who experienced these things, how I can get them to understand that this is not just about George Floyd, that this is not over because a couple of police officers were charged," she added. "And I'm here because if I'm asking my kids, my students, my children to do the work, I can't not do the work."


Afterward, the group of around 100 people marched from the courthouse to Francis Quadrangle.


From there, they walked to Providence, where they laid on the ground blocking the intersection with Elm Street for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, a nightly ritual that allows participants to understand the amount of time it took George Floyd to die.


Then they walked down Providence, blocking the street, and back to the courthouse. A number of passing cars honked in solidarity.


Annabelle Simmons, a Columbia resident since 1994, said she’s been protesting for the past three days because she has five Black sons.


"When I saw that video, it scared me, because that could happen to my child," she said. "And the thing is, they do these things to scare people. And I refuse to be scared. I’m just going to stand up and say ‘You can not do that to us. You have to stop.’"


Simmons said she would be back again at the Sunday protest.


Many spoke about their experiences having hard conversations with family members and close friends about race.


"Pretty much my whole life I’ve been a peacekeeper in my family," said Laura Smith. "I try not to stir the pot, I thought that was the best thing to do. I always had these really strong opinions and I really cared about social issues but I just kind of push them down most of the time."


"But I realized that no one else is gonna talk to my dad. He doesn’t have friends that are gonna tell him about this stuff. It has to be me."


Columbia’s protests began shortly after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed May 25 by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during an arrest for using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes.


His death, along with those of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and countless others that have gone unreported or unrecorded, has inspired protests and demonstrations across the nation.


Taylor was killed by Louisville police after they entered her home on a no-knock search warrant, suspecting drug activity. Her boyfriend, who thought the police were intruders, opened fire, and the police retaliated, shooting her eight times.


Arbery was killed by two white men while jogging, but it took months for either to be arrested. They said they killed him because he looked like a man suspected for several area break-ins.


Organizer Kirubel Mesfin, an MU sophomore, said the movement is going to stay alive in Columbia for "a long time."


Addressing the many college students in the audience, Mesfin said "we’re going to be here at the same time after winter break, after Thanksgiving break, after spring break."