Travon Brown is only 17 years old and is demanding change in his hometown of Marion, Virginia.
However, after organizing a Black Lives Matter protest, a burning cross was found in his yard.
On the evening of June 14, the teen’s Bridgette Thomas saw a burning cross on her lawn after coming back from the store.
According to The Washington Post, “It was propped against the barrel facing the house, and covered in cloth to help it burn.”
The terrified mom texted her son, who was spending the night with friends, to confirm he was okay.
This isn’t the first racial incident in their Marion, Virginia neighborhood, which they moved to eight years. The Washington Post reports that shortly after moving in, the family found a noose on the front porch and say it is common to see Confederate flags in the area.
The WP reports on June 26, a suspect was arrested— their white neighbor James Brown. Over the years the families had been close and Travon even played with his kids. But the Herald Courier reports witnesses said he would use racial slurs when referring to the family and was throwing trash on their lawn.
Witnesses reportedly saw James Brown walking away from the burning cross and he previously told other neighbors he would be a cross on their lawn.
According to the Herald Courier, on July 1, Brown, 40, admitted to burning the cross on his neighbor’s lawn.
The WP states, “Federal prosecutors charged James Brown with criminal interference with fair housing — a civil rights violation — for burning the cross, and with making false statements.”
James Brown has been released on bond.
The harassment hasn’t stopped for Bridgette Thomas and her children. They have been harassed online and Travon has been accused of staging a hoax and had to quit his job at Hardee’s after customers complained about his protests.
Nonetheless, this has not stopped Travon from letting his voice be heard. He organized another Black Lives Matter protest on July 3.