Los Angeles/New York/Washington, Jun 7 (efe-epa).- They’re shouting with different voices – but in unison. They say they’re hopeful, fed up and sad, but they’ve all taken to the streets along with thousands of others across the United States this weekend to call for an end to police violence against African Americans.
Each face, each sign they hold up is different, but all of them decided to mobilize when they saw the shocking cellphone video in which African American George Floyd begged and pleaded on May 25 before being suffocated by a white police officer kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes while he was being arrested but after officers had handcuffed him and placed him face down on the pavement.
These are the stories of five activists interviewed by EFE on the streets of Los Angeles, New York and Washington DC.
Why did she decide to demonstrate in New York City?
“I have just one son and I’m trying to keep him alive,” African American Sakina Bellamy told EFE.
“I don’t think anyone should live with the fact of having their loved one murdered in cold blood. And that’s the truth, the facts, we’re not – you know – hallucinating. We have the videos, we have the audios, we have the evidence. Why does this keep happening? It’s not good,” she said, her outrage clear to see.
Bellamy, 33, came to the protest in a New York park with her 11-year-old son, who was in charge of holding a huge blue umbrella that kept the rain off them.
The pair were carrying cardboard signs with anti-racism slogans. There are so many words and so jumbled together that the phrases were almost illegible.
Also in New York City, Robert, a white man, on Friday decided to leave his apartment to go to a public place full of other people for the first time in three months.
“I’ve been at home a lot recently. I’ve tried to help out with these things, financially, giving money, donating money. This is the first time that I’ve felt comfortable going out because of Covid-19,” he told EFE at the same time that he was constantly working to maintain a safe social distance from others.
On Friday, Robert participated in a protest in McCarren Park, in north Brooklyn, that was convened for 7 pm, just an hour before the start of the nightly curfew that Mayor Bill de Blasio lifted on Sunday.
Along with others who turned out, Robert knelt for a few minutes in a sign of respect, holding up a sign with an anti-slavery message saying “It was enough 400 years ago.”
In Los Angeles, you find some demonstrators here and there with perhaps a little more in-your-face personality, like Kaleb, a glasses-wearing 29-year-old white movie technician with a slim green punk-style mohawk and a leather jacket with the statement “Punch Nazis, Drink Beer” on the back.
Hoarse after having been shouting all day at the protest, Kaleb said that “putting boots on the ground” is important if you want to create change.
“But the main thing is for people to vote. We need good people in public office, decent people who understand what the struggles are of the people of color and who don’t believe in the shit of capitalism … (and) consumerism. It makes me sick!”
While he spoke with EFE near a metro station, the ceaseless clatter and roar of helicopters could be heard overhead.