Hundreds of people dressed in all black marched into Boston Common, took a knee, and silently raised their fists on Sunday evening. For the hour leading up to the group’s arrival at the Common, they chanted as they walked through downtown Boston: “Say his name,” “Hands up, don’t shoot,” and “I can’t breathe.”
Marchers assembled in front of City Hall to protest the murder of George Floyd, a black man killed by a police officer, Derek Chauvin, in Minneapolis. Protests and riots have formed across the United States in response to a video of the officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck. The march that began at City Hall and ended in Boston Common is one of several that have been planned in the Boston area.
“Unfortunately, it’s not about what happens today,” said Ade Laurent, a protester who drove by the crowd on his moped to stop traffic at intersections. “Yeah, everybody can be mad today. And then they’re going to give us a little bit, and then everyone’s going to forget that this ever happened. And then we’re going to be right back here, again.”
“People need to stay mad,” Laurent added. “When they stay mad, that’s when we’ll get a change.”
As Laurent drove up to the intersections, he paused and raised his fist. Alongside him at every stop was Adel Gonzalez, a protester with a Black Lives Matter sign. Gonzalez said that he has been a Boston resident for 39 years and that his 23-year-old son was killed by a police officer.
Gonzalez said he hoped to see “unity, power, and respect” from the protest.
Laurent and Gonzalez stood in the center of protesters who spoke out to the crowd in Boston Common. Some were organizers, while others were people who felt moved to speak.
Nomase Iyamu, a Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences student from Newark, N.J., spoke about a shared responsibility to speak out against immorality. Iyamu said he’s fortunate enough to have never had an unsafe interaction with the police and called on cops to check their fellow officers.
“All of you so-called good cops that continue to protect them, you are no different,” he said.
Iyamu told everyone in the crowd to make a promise to themselves, their friends and family, and their co-workers to speak out against acts of immorality that they see—he said it is a human right and a human responsibility to do so.
Mahira Louis, 15, said that she doesn’t want to have to fear having the cops called on her or being shot every time she leaves her house.
“I don’t want to get shot in a black hoodie,” she said. “I don’t want to go jogging and get shot for my color. I don’t want to get shot for my color. Why is my color a crime?”
For some, the protest was a way to show support.
“It’s more about what I’m hoping to do, which is stand in solidarity,” said Esther, a protester from Cambridge who declined to give her last name. “It’s too painful to just sit at home and read about this on the internet.”
Featured Image by Colleen Martin / Heights Editor