Massive Demonstrations Sweep the Nation
Peaceful protesters took to the streets from coast to coast once again Saturday, as millions of mask-wearing Americans braved a global viral pandemic to call for racial equality and police reform.
On the 12th day of demonstrations following the death of black Minneapolis resident George Floyd at the hands of four now-fired and arrested police officers, massive crowds turned out in New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and pretty much every other major city in the nation. Far from slowing down, the day marked the largest outpouring of support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
In Washington, D.C., where 16th Avenue has had “Black Lives Matter” painted on it in gigantic, yellow, block letters, and where an area in front of the White House has been renamed “Black Lives Matter Square,” crowds stretched for blocks in several directions.
The protesters represented a remarkable cross-section of society. People of all races, religions, sexuality and socio-economic backgrounds came out in huge numbers to carry signs, listen to speeches, chant, and relate their own stories of dealing with police brutality.
Demonstrators have already won several victories, as the strength of their protests pressured authorities into arresting and charging Derek Chauvin and three other cops in Floyd's murder. Since then, officers also have been arrested and charged in Atlanta and Buffalo for using excessive force against protesters.
And it’s not just large cities. Demonstrations have taken place in hundreds of small towns as well, including in some of the unlikeliest places. In Vidor, Tex., 150-200 people came out Saturday to support Black Lives Matter. One writer, who grew up there, described Vidor as: “the most hateful town in America,” just 10 months ago.
The tide has clearly turned for the Black Lives Matter movement. Americans in overwhelming numbers now see what African-Americans have been saying for years.
There’s nothing like seeing something heinous on video to shock an otherwise apathetic populace into accepting reality. In 2014, when Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was caught striking his then-fiance, it sparked national outrage and condemnation and led to a complete overhaul in how we view domestic violence. Since then, athletes arrested and accused of domestic violence have been treated far more harshly.
Now, the country has seen police brutality in its ugliest and truest form. A man, accused of the non-violent act of passing a counterfeit $20 bill, has been brazenly murdered on the street of a major city, in broad daylight, for all to see. Even the most cop-loving conservatives couldn’t deny it, were taken aback by it and didn’t even try to defend it.
Americans are responding in overwhelming numbers, with more and more taking to the streets every day, facing off against police departments that continue to use excessive force and prove the protesters’ point. The demonstrators are keeping the pressure on, and holding law-enforcement accountable at every opportunity, through the power of the video recorders in their smart phones.
Now is the time to reform our police departments. They are clearly out of control, and their days of running over people with impunity must stop.
If not now, when?