MUSKEGON, Mich., (WOOD) — People gathered in Muskegon Sunday afternoon for a protest following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Floyd was killed in a viral video by Minneapolis police officers after repeatedly uttering the words “I can’t breathe” while an officer’s knee was on his neck for several minutes.
The protest in Muskegon started at the Michael E. Kobza Hall of Justice near Terrace Street and Apple Avenue.
“We’re tired of dying. We’re tired of being oppressed,” said protestor Eddie Sanders Jr. “Everyone that’s out here regardless of race, creed or color was under that knee. That knee represented destruction and oppression. It meant evil for everyone.”
The parking lot at Kobza Hall was filled with several hundred protestors carrying signs and chanting. Organizers say although Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, the pain is felt in Muskegon.
“I am somebody. My community is somebody. My fellow black men are somebody. George Floyd was somebody. Sandra Bland was somebody. Breonna Taylor was somebody. Everybody was somebody,” said organizer Leonna Watson.
The protest in Muskegon was just one of many erupting across the nation over the death of Floyd.
“I think, is my dad next? Is my brother next? Am I next?” asked demonstrator Ebonè Evans.
Evans says seeing protest after protest for black lives lost has been increasingly frustrating and maddening.
“F**k these marches. That’s not why I’m here,” said Evans. “We die, we march. We die, we march some more. We die, we march. It’s ineffective.”
Protestors remained peaceful through the afternoon, something especially important to organizers. They say the destruction and riots in other cities is a clear indicator of the deep wound that makes up race relations in America.
”They’re black men and they’re hurting and they’re tired. They’re hurting. You see pain. That’s what you see,” said Watson. “White people say it’s anger but it’s pain. It’s hurt. It’s an embarrassment.”
They say to see a real change, they need white America and people in positions of power to pay attention to what’s going on and step up.
“What are you going to do to stop the people who look like you from killing people who look like me?” asked demonstrator Ebonè Evans.
Throughout the event, there were only a handful of Muskegon County Sheriff’s deputies at the protest. There was no Muskegon city police. Protestors ended things around 9 p.m.