Rev. Dorothy Boulware (Courtesy Photo)

By Rev. Dorothy Boulware
AFRO Managing Editor

On May 25, 2020, people began to protest vehemently in the light of the murder of George Floyd, 46, by former police officer Derrick Chauvin; while onlookers begged him to stop and fellow police officers stood by, as if giving silent assent.

It certainly wasn’t the first time police in this country have been accused of “allegedly” murdering young Black men and women while detaining them for things as innocuous as selling loose cigarettes, in the case of Earl Garner; or a traffic stop, in the case of Sandra Bland.

Or what in the case of Brianna Taylor, 20, as she slept in her house in Louisville, KY.

It wasn’t the first time. 

But this time, feet started to march in Minneapolis, the city of Floyd’s murder. And with the same energy of a domino effect, feet started marching in neighboring cities and in neighboring states. 

In spite of the fact that law enforcers tried to discourage the protests; feet began to march with determination. They marched in most of the 50 states of this country. In inner cities and in counties. In rural areas and in town centers.

As if marching could make a difference.

Signs went up in the hands of the marchers. Signs went up in front yards of homeowners. Signs went up even on cars and vehicles.

Feet marched with determined cadence. All over the world. They marched in solidarity with Black people who’ve been crying for justice in the face of police brutality. Forever. Black people who’ve watched their young and old people slaughtered by those sworn to protect and serve. Forever. Children and grandchildren. Aunts and uncles. Screaming for justice, screams that fell on seemingly deaf ears.

Feet began to march once they saw the video of the vicious murder Derrick Chauvin perpetrated on George Floyd without regret, and with a seemingly defiant look that refused to recognize the humanity of the man he was killing over the span of 9 minutes and 29 seconds…the humanity of a man who repeatedly declared his inability to breathe…the humanity of a man who ultimately resolved that only his mother would hear him and relieve him of the pain and terror of dying he was experiencing in those moments.

The humanity of a man that 17-year-old, Darnella Frazier, had the courage to video with her iPhone, a video that could not save his life, but ultimately motivated the feet to march.

As if marching could make a difference.

New feet were needed because the feet of historic marchers were exhausted. New feet. Newly motivated feet. Newly convinced feet. Feet that finally believed what their eyes had seen without equivocation.

New feet that could take a shift or two and relieve the feet that have been marching since 1920 when the NAACP posted the banner in New York City to proclaim, “A Black man was lynched today.” 

Been marching past picnics that killed them and polling places that denied them.
Been marching past schools that denied them and
Been marching past hotels that wouldn’t accommodate them;
past hospitals that wouldn’t treat them
Past churches that wouldn’t worship with them
Past businesses that wouldn’t employ them
Past communities that wouldn’t welcome them
Even past water fountains that refused to quench their thirst
As if marching could make a difference.
In the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And these new feet couldn’t stomach the hypocrisy of it all.

So these feet marched throughout the rest of May and throughout June and the entirety of July. And August and September. October. November. December. Marched right into the new year and every day leading up to the of Derrick Chauvin’s trial. And stood outside the trial every day, demanding justice or else.

New feet that were willing to march, having unwittingly joined the society of mothers who wail at the murder of children who didn’t journey to earth through their wombs. The society of mothers whose hearts continue to be broken each time a child is tied to their souls through the shedding of his blood and leaching of his life.

A Black man was lynched today. A year ago. Yesterday. And tomorrow.

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