Calling for justice in the deaths of Minneapolis man George Floyd and other people of color in recent weeks, protesters joined a nationwide chorus Saturday in a hastily-planned march through downtown Crawfordsville.
More than 100 people organized by local groups Humans United for Equality and Voices for Peace quietly marched to Pike Place from Speed Cabin, where a Peace Pole was planted.
“As a Christian, I want to believe that in America all lives matter, but I have eyes and the evidence is sorely lacking that this is true,” said the Rev. Joel Weir, rector of St. Stephen the First Martyr Orthodox Church, in remarks outside the cabin that served as a stop on the Underground Railroad.
The march came as anger over Floyd’s death escalated over the weekend, with protests turning violent in cities including Indianapolis. The handcuffed man died on Memorial Day after white police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes and ignored his “I can’t breathe” pleas. Chauvin was arrested Friday and charged with murder.
Weir repeated the names of other black people who have recently been killed, including Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, Dreasjon Reed in Indianapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.
“These names call us to repentance today,” Weir said.
The “March for Peace and Equality” was organized on Facebook by Humans United for Equality member Chris Amidon, who said she wanted to show support for the community after a string of tragic events. Marchers held signs reading “Enough is Enough” and “Silence Enables Racism” as they gathered for the procession.
“It’s Déjà vu for me,” said Austin Brooks, who said he was part of the social movements in the 1960s. “I thought we were at least partly past this and nothing much has changed, it seems.”
For Amidon’s daughter, Sammie, devastation over Floyd’s death turned into anger this week as Minneapolis became the latest city to confront the issue of police brutality.
“This is not a new thing. This is not a surprise,” said Amidon, adding she was using her voice to amplify the concerns of marginalized communities. “I’m not the person who should be telling other people what to do.”
After the march reached Pike Place, Voices for Peace member Kay Nannet called on the crowd to continue demanding justice. Organizers say another march is being planned soon.
“Let’s make sure black lives and brown lives matter and let’s live our lives that way, and let’s speak up when we see injustice,” Nannet said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.