“Don’t You Knel”
We’re all here together with you. Somebody signed a form at the Government House saying we are going to protest you. At this time. Is that good for you? Please send the police that we were protesting. And I remember specifically, right as I was parking, I saw this sister walking with her daughter—this Black woman walking with her daughter. And there was a traffic cop making sure that you walk by. And this woman talked to the officer as she went across the intersection, and then I heard her because she passed by me, on my side. I heard her tell her daughter, “It’s okay to talk to the police. Because sometimes that keeps you safe. Sometimes that keeps you alive.” So at this protest against police brutality, she was one of maybe six Black people I saw at this protest. So not to say we weren’t there, but it was like, this is not by us. And therefore it can’t actually be for us, it’s not really trying to serve us.
ÉZÉ AMOS, 46 CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA
Richmond had something happen that was quite similar to George Floyd. There was a gentleman named Marcus David Peters. He had a mental breakdown. And he was out in the streets, he was actually naked, in the street. Police responded to that, and instead of trying to help him, they just shot him in the back. A man running around the streets naked—he wasn’t running at them, he was just running around the street. And instead of them trying to help him, they decided to put him down, like a dog. So apart from the whole protest of George Floyd, Richmond also had that to protest against.
I remember the one I went to, the protesters actually went to the police station and surrounded police headquarters and demanded change and to defund the police and all that. And the police came up and started tear-gassing people and beating them. At one point, some of the protesters burned down a dump truck up the road from the station. They broke the windows to some of the big-box stores, Whole Foods was vandalized—a lot of people shopped there—and the windows and glass were destroyed as well. And they set some buildings on fire. I think they were arrested and the police arrested and shot at everybody. They shot at everybody. After that very first protest I went to in Richmond, I quickly realized that I needed a helmet and a bulletproof vest.