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Conversations: 'I want to use my voice for this community'
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Jovany Romero of Gainesville said he has been protesting for days because he wants "equality for the black community." - photo by Kelsey Podo

Jovany Romero, 23, of Gainesville, said learning about Floyd’s death made him feel ashamed to be an American. 

For the past couple of days, he has peacefully protested in downtown Gainesville, holding signs and joining with others to ask for African Americans to be treated as equal human beings. 

“My voice is so small, and I don’t want to speak for the black community,” Romero said. “But if my voice can help in whatever way, I want to use my voice for this community. The people need to know that we are done with the cruelty, and we’re done with the injustice.”

Romero said he is one of millions who are fed up with the justice system and how black people and others of color are treated. He encourages white people to speak up against racism and defend African Americans. 

Conversations on race

Today, The Times shares perspectives from those who have protested on Gainesville’s streets in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Those who would like to tell of their experiences can reach out to to be put in touch with a reporter. Full names must be provided.

“I think as a community we have to stick together and let the city of Gainesville know that we will not tolerate any bigotry, racism or discrimination of any kind,” he said. 

While Romero protests in Gainesville, he said he makes a point to spread the names of those who have lost their lives to racial acts of hatred like Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others.

Being out in the public, he said he is able to have conversations with people about racial injustice as well as spread accurate information.

If he could give one message to those who regularly drive by Jesse Jewell Parkway, he said he would ask them to do more than honk. 

“Join us and be a part of the right side of history, and make your voice be heard,” Romero said.

If you’re interested in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, Romero recommends visiting