On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, several protesters used megaphones to passionately express their frustrations with police brutality against Black people and the systemic racism found in society at large.
“My job on the radio every day is to give people hope, to encourage people. But how can I encourage people when I don’t believe in a system that’s killing us?” said DJ QuickSilva, a local 92 Q radio host. “What we’re fighting for today, if anybody’s confused, we’re fighting for justice because we’re tired of just getting a charge and not a conviction.”
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Several protesters took to the mic to raise their voices against the killing of George Floyd after officer Derek Chauvin forced his knee into Floyd’s neck in an incident involving three other Minneapolis officers — Kiernan Lane, Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao. Chauvin is facing second-degree murder charges while the others have been charged with second-edegree aiding and abetting felony murder and manslaughter.
One protester led a chorus of “Wade in the Water” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Another participant, a trans woman, stood before the crowd to highlight LGBTQ+ rights and the beatings and murders of Black trans women. Roger Campbell II, a software engineer and activist per his LinkedIn bio, read from his essay “Black Lives: A Glance Through The Looking Glass.” In front of the Lincoln Memorial, Campbell talked about what he’d like to see from the country’s leaders.
“I think that all politicians need to be standing with us because this is not just a Black problem, it’s not just a Brown problem,” Campbell said. “If we allow this inherent racism, if we allow this inherent hatred to continue to grow and fester within this country, we’re going to destroy ourselves from within. So, the message for me to our politicians is, ‘Get on the same page. You’re here for the people. I know you took the position of power because you think it makes you feel good, but at the end of the day you took an oath to represent people, to protect people, and you’re not doing it right.’”
From the steps, protesters started chants of “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace” which echoed through the monument. Police presence was minimal compared to previous days. As the crowd took to the streets, they were met with free water and free food. At a pause in the march, protesters joined to dance and take a break before continuing through the streets.
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