“Every time a black body is harmed, every time one of us witnesses, over and over again, one of our family injured in any way, we feel it inside of ourselves, don’t we?”
Thousands of protesters peacefully rallied at Burnside Park in Providence on Saturday to join protests nationwide calling for justice in the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes as Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on the pavement. Chauvin and three other officers involved in the arrest were fired the next day, and Chauvin faces third degree murder charges.
Floyd joins a long list of unarmed black persons murdered by police nationwide.
Many people spoke at the event, before marching from Burnside Park to the Rhode Island State House. Most in the crowd wore masks, and some social distancing was practiced, but concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic felt distant to a crowd fighting a pandemic of black lives lost to police violence.
“Every time a black body is harmed, every time one of us witnesses, over and over again, one of our family injured in any way, we feel it inside of ourselves, don’t we?” asked speaker Michael Araujo. “This is a thing that is real, this kinship that we share as Black people throughout this entire country. Every single one of us is familiar with the feeling of pain. When we witness somebody pulled over, we wonder if they’re going to be all right. Am I right?
“Do we stop, or be afraid? Do we move, or move on?”
Can we please ask a favor?
Funding for our reporting relies entirely on the generosity of readers like you. Our independence is how we are able to write stories that hold RI state and local government officials accountable. All of our stories are free and available to everyone right here at UpriseRI.com. But your support is essential to keeping Steve on the beat, covering the costs of reporting many stories in a single day. If you are able to, please support Uprise RI. Every contribution, big or small is so valuable to us. You provide the motivation and financial support to keep doing what we do. Thank you.
“America, you’ve got blood on your hands.,” said Gary Dantzler, one of the organizers.
“If I tell you I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” said Iasha Hall. “But I’m taking my breath back, because first and foremost, as a black woman, as a woman of God, I take power and authority and dominion over Providence.”
“We are here talking about empowerment,” said Lisa Ranglin, founder of the Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA). “Strong black businesses equals strong black community…”
The march to the State House begins:
At the State House:
Here are the rest of the speakers at Burnside Park, and Gary Dantzler at the State House: