Another unarmed black man murdered by police. Can you imagine if it wasn’t so easy to record videos? Can you imagine if there was no concrete evidence against these officers? Can you imagine if social media wasn’t around to spread visibility of these acts of injustice that are happening monthly?
All of the innocent victims of police brutality throughout the years have always affected me deeply. But I’d be lying if I said George Floyd’s death didn’t connect to me in a different way. Myles and I live 15 minutes away from where George Floyd was murdered by four officers of the Minneapolis Police Department on Memorial Day. The first day I’ve had off from work all year, where I spent the day on my couch, binge-watching tv shows. The same time I was doing that, a man lost his life. The police were called by a store owner who believed he was paid them with fake $20 bills. Something as simple as fake money for a pack of cigarettes cost this man his entire life.
I watched the video. I know not everyone likes to watch these kinds of videos, but I did. All ten minutes of it, too. My friend sent it to me on Instagram Tuesday morning, and I wasn’t even sure what I was watching at first. Then I realized this was in Minneapolis. Then I realized this was not going to end well. As the seconds went on, I only got angrier. The way the officer kept his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck, even after he said he couldn’t breathe MULTIPLE times. The lack of emotion or concern on the officer’s face was haunting. I can’t get the image out of my mind.
I saw the protests going on and wanted to go the very first night. I didn’t want to go alone, and unfortunately Myles worked M-W, but we made plans to go his first day off, Thursday. We wanted to pay our respects to Mr. Floyd, but we experienced so much more than that.
38th and Chicago
This was the site where Mr. Floyd lost his life only four days ago. To return to the very store that called the police on him and see the street where he was pinned down and couldn’t breathe for several minutes was a surreal experience. When we arrived, we immediately noticed two growing memorials for Mr. Floyd at the intersection. There were flowers, balloons, signs, notes, letters, everything you can imagine.
There was also a huge crowd of people of all colors and ages. Black, Hispanic, Asian, white. Adults, teenagers, children. Everyone showed some kind of hungriness. If they weren’t holding a sign, you could see it in their eyes. People are tired. People are exhausted. People are worn out over the fight for justice.
But in the same eyes there was also passion. A promise to not let this just slip through the cracks. A promise to stand behind George Floyd, although I don’t think hardly any of us there knew him personally. We were all in this together. There was no doubt about that.
Several people spoke during the hour/hour and a half we were there. I think they were allowing anyone with any thoughts to come up. A lot of people shared a message about unity, that we were in this together. Some older men and women shared what they’ve seen throughout the years and how things aren’t getting better.
There were also a lot of chants.
- “What’s his name? George Floyd! I can’t breathe!”
- “No justice, no peace. Prosecute the police!”
- “Black lives matter!”
In addition to everything else, there were so many people donating so many items. There was a whole stand set up that had free water, snacks, meals, everything. There were people walking around with coolers offering free water and Gatorade. Everyone there was there for one reason: because we wanted justice for Mr. Floyd. We wanted to make sure our voices were heard.
It’s impossible for me to describe the sense of empowerment we felt. It gave me chills and still does as I type this. We’re in the middle of everything going on. I’m sure most of you have seen the news about the riots and looting. And I don’t judge the people who choose to do that at all. Our “president” wants to call them thugs and give the green light to shoot them. What the fuck is that? People are upset! And they have every right to be! If a few billion dollar corporations like Target end up in the crossfires of people’s anger, oh well. In my view, the looting is a consequence. The government and police need to know there’s going to be consequences every time something like this happens. If there’s no consequences, what is going to keep them from doing it again? I fully support anyone’s decision to wreak havoc as you spread awareness for what you believe in.
Even though last night was Myles and I’s first time protesting, it won’t be our last. I’m eager to continue showing my support. I’m not sure how often we will go, or where we will go next, but we will be out there again supporting our people.
Before I go, here’s a video recap I did of last night’s protest.