I have been protesting for days now and the violence only increases. Yesterday, Trump ordered peaceful protesters to be gassed and trampled over. I know that they were peaceful because I had been among them earlier that day. When persons wanted to negatively engage police officers, we quickly and unequivocally corrected them. I know because I did just that– while marching. I didn’t break my stride as I looked him in the eyes and told him that was not apart of our message.
He quieted down and fell in line.
Trump did all of this for a photo opportunity but I cannot get the image of George Floyd pinned to the ground out of my head. Still, he walked from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. to take a picture in front of the damaged church with a Bible in hand. It was burned during the protests; still, its leaders stand with those who protest the murder of George Floyd. Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington said that she was “disappointed” by Trump’s actions, adding that this was only his second visit to the church. The Reverend Robert Fisher, the church’s rector said, “I feel like I’m in some alternative universe in some way.”
But it is all too real for so many Americans. The death of George Floyd has been described as “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” I and so many others are simply tired of police brutality and the hyper- surveillance of certain communities. I am tired of waiting, of hoping, of trusting systems that have historically not done the right thing when given the opportunity. I have heard them out and now they will hear me, chanting in the city’s streets.
Trump released a video of his walk to the church, which included dramatic music. But, I can still hear George Floyd pleading for his life, crying out for his mother. He said, “They are going to kill me.” They did.
Every camera angle shows the police officers in the wrong and still the medical examiner ruled that Floyd had underlying health conditions. Floyd’s family ordered an independent autopsy that ruled his death a homicide. It is all too familiar. Victims of lynching were often killed “at the hands of persons unknown.” Yes, Derek Chauvin has been fired and arrested for third- degree murder. But, even with all of the evidence that points directly at him and the national outrage, if you expect justice for George Floyd, don’t hold your breath.