Why I protest

Why+I+protest

Photo by Nacala Williams

Nacala Williams

The Black voice is silenced and ignored and protest is how our voices become heard. It’s not unusual that when Black people are killed on camera by the police, protests start. The death of George Floyd sparked protests all around the country. However, Floyd’s murder was different. His protests haven’t faded away as other protests have. People from different races and backgrounds came together to fight for black people and the injustices in America.

I was cautious about protesting for a variety of reasons, mainly because of COVID-19. DC has had many coronavirus cases and in a protest, it is hard and near impossible to stay six feet apart from others. When we don’t social distance, the chance of getting coronavirus increases. While this worried me, I had to protest despite it. I needed my voice to be heard because I am fighting for the right to live, the right to the same opportunities, and the right to be treated as a person. I felt that I had a responsibility to protest because George Floyd could have easily been me, a friend, or a family member. 

So I protested on Sunday, May 31 with my older cousin. Protesting as a high school student and teenager feels exciting and thrilling, but at the same time, you’re angry. It is an opportunity to express how you feel and stand up for what you think is right. The diversity, size, and the raw emotions from the crowd showed how meaningful the protests were. The anger and hurt that people expressed was real. People are frustrated and angry that they keep having to protest police brutality and that things are not getting better for Black people.

The protest started at Howard University at two o’clock and we marched to the White House. As we walked, people from the balconies and windows chanted with us. The crowd was loud, energetic, large, and diverse, shouting a variety of chants; “No justice, no peace.” “Hands up don’t shoot.” “I can’t breathe.” “Black lives matter.” Police were present, but they remained peaceful with us. 

At one point, the police did stop us in the middle of the street. The crowd stopped, took a knee and we waited for them to let us pass. Once we got to the White House, chants continued. While we were marching, various people were handing out masks, hand sanitizers, snacks, and first aid supplies. In the very front, people with megaphones addressed the crowd. Although people in the back were unable to hear, the speakers made the crowd excited and energized them.  At the White House, there was a “Karen” in the crowd. The crowd responded with a “Go home Karen” chant and a few people escorted her out of the crowd. We left the protest at around four o’clock and walked back toward Howard