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Have You Participated in the George Floyd Protests?
by We Hold These Truths
34,222 actions taken this week
  • verymary
    Voted Yes

    We got cleaned up Sunday morning, put on our good clothes, and set out for George Floyd’s visitation. We knew we’d have to express our sympathy from outside because we can’t risk crowds in this murderous pandemic that our President has dismissed as over, but we couldn’t NOT have gone, and I was already certain of what we’d be saying to Mr. Floyd: “We know you’re not thrilled with America’s economy. We know this isn’t a great day for minorities. Donald Trump is the center of some other universe, not ours, and he will not control our emotions about your death, or your life. We also would’ve given our lives, if we could’ve, to save you from losing yours.” How strange to realize that our almost invisible little town had become the second destination in George Floyd’s farewell. Of course, nobody expected to see Raeford as the halfway point between Minneapolis and Houston -- except Donald Trump, perhaps. His grasp of geography is slight at best. It was a grand assemblage, though: cowboys on horseback (in North Carolina!), like a posse from 1889; motorcycle clubs; highway patrol cars from throughout the country, apparently; vendors selling face masks and “I Can’t Breathe!” T-shirts; an old guy wearing a “Defeat Bush!” T-shirt that failed to signify which Bush; road signs flashing and pointing toward the Floyd “event”; and all of humanity, walking, on this miserably hot day – young, old, seemingly affluent, seemingly poor, all the races, no doubt every motivation – walking toward the church. Shuttles had been advertised, but we didn’t see any, so people had been parking as close as they could, which wasn’t very, and walking. As we crept along with the rest of the vehicled pilgrims, one walker fell almost to her knees, obviously surprised by the scorching June day, and I hollered out to her two friends, “Does she need water? Can we give you some water?” They didn’t need water or a ride but had big, grateful smiles for us, and we were relieved that the parable of the Good Samaritan hadn’t escaped us as readily as it had the entire Trump administration, no exceptions. When we finally made it back to the house, Raeford was on CNN. Wow. Fame in exchange for one day of service as a humble destination to a destination. But we were kind of proud, as if a distant relative had won the Nobel Prize or been Michael Jordan. I was determined to make our quiet trek today because I had stupidly assumed that we’d defeated racism all those decades ago. I was determined to honor George Floyd, and I needed to honor my long, long list of friends and students who have lived with oppression and inequity yet still pray for the triumph of our country.

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