Down­town Floyd protests draw 200

An­other round of demon­stra­tions started in City Hall on Sun­day.

Orlando Sentinel - - Front Page - By An­nie Martin and Lisa Maria Garza

About 200 peo­ple stood on the cor­ner of Or­ange Av­enue and East South Street in front of City Hall on Sun­day chant­ing Ge­orge Floyd’s name dur­ing a peace­ful protest sparked by the Min­nesota man’s death.

Natalie McDon­ald, 23, led the crowd in chant­ing “Black Lives Mat­ter,” “I can’t breathe,” and “No jus­tice, no peace; no racist po­lice.”

McDon­ald, who grew up in Ja­maica, said she didn’t ex­pe­ri­ence racism un­til she moved to the U.S. about seven years ago. She said black par­ents are forced to teach their chil­dren to be quiet and that their race is some­times per­ceived as a sign of ag­gres­sion.

McDon­ald, who is black, an­tic­i­pates hav­ing chil­dren some­day and said she doesn’t want to teach them those lessons.

“Why is it that black peo­ple have to be scared for their lives all the time?” she asked.

The in­for­mal gath­er­ing was much smaller than an or­ga­nized protest in the down­town area Satur­day that the Or­lando Po­lice Depart­ment an­nounced drew 10,000 peo­ple and con­cluded with no ar­rests. As a re­sult, Mayor Buddy Dyer said he was end­ing an 8 p.m. cur­few for the down­town area while still main­tain­ing a 10 p.m. cur­few through­out the

city of Or­lando.

De­spite the threat of more storms a day after a tor­nado touched down in the city, spirited pro­test­ers gath­ered to speak out against racial in­jus­tice and po­lice bru­tal­ity.

Protests have raged in all 50 states and in other coun­tries around world for two weeks after cam­eras cap­tured Floyd plead­ing he could not breathe while a Min­neapo­lis po­lice of­fi­cer, now charged with sec­ond­de­gree mur­der, used his knee to keep the un­armed black man pinned to a street while face­down. Three other of­fi­cers on the scene have been charged with aid­ing and abet­ting mur­der.

Or­lando protest or­ga­niz­ers high­lighted lo­cal black busi­ness own­ers to the crowd gath­ered at the City Hall steps Sun­day.

Kea Jef­fer­son, owner of Klicks by Kay Pho­tog­ra­phy in Apopka, said she has been tak­ing pic­tures of all the protest signs, which in­clude mes­sages of, “All lives don’t mat­ter un­til black lives mat­ter” and “I can’t breathe” with a paint­ing of Floyd.

Jef­fer­son said she tells her 9-year-old and 4-year-old to “never back down be­cause of the color of their skin.” She thanked the crowd for keep­ing the protest peace­ful.

“We’ve got to work to­gether. It’s go­ing to take [all of ] us. It’s go­ing to take law en­force­ment. It’s go­ing to take govern­ment of­fi­cials,” she said. “It’s go­ing to take ev­ery­body to start mov­ing for­ward, so keep this mo­men­tum.”

An­taniece Brown, 29, read a spo­ken word piece she wrote ti­tled “Free Amer­ica” in front of the crowd.

“I un­der­stand all lives mat­ter, yes, but none of them mat­ter un­til we truly mat­ter,” Brown said.

She urged oth­ers to vote peo­ple into of­fice who will write new poli­cies that will help black Amer­i­cans, adding “it’s not about Democrats or Repub­li­cans.”

Brown said she hoped for a bet­ter fu­ture for her four chil­dren at home, say­ing it’s scary for black par­ents who have to worry about their chil­dren when they go out. She ref­er­enced Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Cleve­land boy shot to death by po­lice in 2014, as an ex­am­ple of the harm that can come to black chil­dren.

Brown pulled up pho­tos on her phone of her mother hold­ing a “Free Amer­ica” sign at past protests, in­clud­ing at one held after the death of Trayvon Martin.

“My fam­ily, this is what we do,” she said.

An­other down­town pro­tester, Or­lando res­i­dent Kim Feaste, 27, sat on a bench with his 10-month-old Green mon­key, Thabo.

Feaste ripped in half a blue Don­ald Trump 2020 flag with “Keep Amer­ica Great” writ­ten on it in and used tree bark to pin it to the ground.

The ges­ture was self-ex­plana­tory, he said: “This is Amer­ica. It’s di­vided.”

STEPHEN M. DOWELL/OR­LANDO SEN­TINEL

Pro­test­ers chant at City Hall in Or­lando Sun­day. The protest was in re­sponse to the death of Ge­orge Floyd while in po­lice cus­tody in Min­neapo­lis.

STEPHEN M. DOWELL/OR­LANDO SEN­TINEL

Pro­test­ers chant in front of City Hall in Or­lando Sun­day while hold­ing signs in sup­port of Black Lives Mat­ter. Or­ga­niz­ers high­lighted lo­cal black busi­ness own­ers to the crowd.

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