At a demonstration against hate, this couple declared their love.
Xavier Young, 26, and Marjorie Alston, 23, got engaged during a Black Lives Matter protest in Raleigh, North Carolina, this weekend. The couple met while working a part-time job at a laser tag arcade in the fall of 2018 and are now expecting their first child.
Alston had never been to a protest before, but after watching the Black Lives Matter movement’s momentum grow following George Floyd’s May 25 death, she wanted to be a part of it.
“I never went out to protest before, but I was like, ‘This is the time,’” she tells Insider. “Seeing police brutality hits close to home because it could be anybody.”
Her desire to demonstrate was the sign Young had been waiting for: He brought the engagement ring he’d bought a week prior when they left home to march.
“I’ve known I was going to propose for a while,” says Young, noting that the time hadn’t felt right.
“I knew I wanted to propose at the protest when she wanted to go,” he says. “I felt like if she wants to go out there and get in the trenches, she’s definitely the one.”
After over an hour of marching, Young took a knee and briefly pulled down his mask.
“What better place and what better time?” he says. “We’re protesting something unjust and ugly, and I felt like I could bring some beauty and some light to the situation.”
Fellow demonstrators cheered.
“The great thing about it for me was that it wasn’t just black folks around us celebrating,” says Young. “It was white folks, it was Hispanic folks, everybody that was there. It brought people together.”
It was a moment he, Alston and those around them will never forget.
“Black lives matter, and black love matters,” says Alston.