“Enough is enough”
USA - Aly Conyers was supposed to spend the summer competing at track and field meets.
Instead, the 17-year-old allAmerican sprinter, stood in front of a crowd of hundreds near Howard University earlier this week. Her older brother, Ace, had planned on leading the Sunday afternoon protest, but he had lost his voice from shouting in front of the White House. So Aly, who attends a private high school in South Carolina, stepped onto a brick platform, grabbed the megaphone, and started speaking.
“We are the face of this movement”, she shouted to the crowd. “We are the face of this generation. We will not let this stand. Enough is enough.”
Hours later, Aly coughed and wheezed in a cloud of chemical gas near the White House. On Monday, she ran as federal law enforcement officers fired rubber bullets to clear demonstrators from Lafayette Square. On Thursday, she returned to the protests yet again, leading a crowd of more than a thousand people at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in a moment of silence.
Across the country, thousands of teenagers like Aly are on the front lines of the protests demanding justice for George Floyd and other victims of police brutality. For many, their high school years in the age of Trump, #MeToo and the Parkland shooting have been punctuated by protests — the
Women’s Marches, March for Our Lives, racial justice and climate change rallies. They were in elementary school when Trayvon Martin was shot and killed, and grew up knowing his name, along with the words his death helped ignite: Black Lives Matter.
But most have never come face to face with police officers in riot gear, or with military vehicles lining the streets.
“It was terrifying”, Aly said about Monday’s ambush by the Secret Service, U.S. Park Police and National Guard. “It was like something out of a movie scene. Everyone went moving backwards and crying.” In Minneapolis, Chris Owusu, 17, was chanting George Floyd’s name outside the police department’s 3rd Precinct station last week when he was blindsided by tear gas, he said. His eyes burned. His lungs felt as though they were collapsing.
“It’s the most excruciating pain that I’ve ever felt”, he said.
He was about to go home when he noticed his friend had been shot with a rubber bullet on the side of her forehead. Blood was gushing down her face, and she was having trouble speaking. He offered to drive her to the hospital, maneuvering his car through the massive crowds flooding the streets of Minneapolis.
“I will have one hell of a college essay to write”, Owusu said.
(The Washington Post)
Aly Conyers, 17, joins the sixth day of protests in Washington after the death of George Floyd. (Photo: The Washington Post)