SARASOTA (WSNN) - As waves of protests continue to sweep the nation, people on the Suncoast also seek to make their voices heard. Black influencers on the Suncoast use their platform to give voice to those people.  

"It’s time for America to get it together," Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe founder and artistic director, Nate Jacobs, said. 

Jacobs created WBTT, an all-black performing arts company, through much resilience and hard work. He says he turned the tide in the art world, and he says he hopes this movement can do the same for the nation.

He says it's been a long time coming.

"I think George Floyd’s cry was a final call, battle cry, to this country to say it must stop, and it must stop now.”

Floyd died after Derek Chauvin, an officer, kneeled on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. Chauvin is facing murder charges.

Second Chance Last Opportunity has a mission to meet the needs of individuals who are hurt and broken. 

Founder and CEO, April Glasco, lives by that mission and says police officers should live by theirs: to serve and protect. 

"Floyd said, ‘I can’t breathe.’ That was your responsibility to get up," Glasco said. “When he signed into law enforcement, he agreed to protect the citizens. He did not protect that person.”

Even so, she says people should still need to be held accountable. 

"If I’m out of line, allow me to correct or communicate with me," Glasco said. "It’s not hard in helping each other help another.”

She’s all about giving second chances.

"We are in this together," Glasco said. "If you take off the titles of every person around this world, they’re just people just like me and you.”

Jacobs and Glasco say they believe empathy is necessary at this time.

"You cannot judge a person unless you walk in their shoes," Jacobs said.

"When I hurt, I want someone to hurt with me," Glasco said. "When I bleed, bleed with me. When I say I can’t breathe me, I’m sorry, breathe for me.”

Jacobs says the solution is simple:

"It’s called L-O-V-E," Jacobs said. "It’s called forgiveness. It’s called understanding.”

When it comes to protesting, he says he doesn’t condone hate. 

"You can win more bees with honey than you can with hot sauce," Jacobs said.

Jacobs says he believes protests won’t stop until they see change happen.

Glasco and Jacobs say what’s happening in their backyard is positively powerful. The protests in Sarasota are peaceful, and they seek to lead by example and be that beacon of hope for the struggling nation.