On May 25th of this year, a former police officer, Derek Chauvin, had killed George Floyd. In a video that Darnella Frazier recorded, Chauvin had a knee on Floyd’s neck which ended up suffocating him. In response to this, thousands of people have been protesting in Floyd’s memory. Though the protests originated in North America, they’ve spread out worldwide. In this article, we’ll be looking specifically at some of the protests in the United States and Canada.
The protests began in Minneapolis where the murder happened, a day after the incident. They began peacefully; many people were even willing to stop and answer reporters on what they thought. However, some protesters decided to target the precinct building where Chauvin allegedly worked. They defaced the building with spray paint and broke its windows. Police, in response, sprayed tear gas and fired rubber bullets at the people protesting.
There have been many more protests which start out peaceful but end up in violence. In Los Angeles, there were protestors blocking the 101 Freeway, but others were vandalizing and burning property. The protests in Minnesota became worse too; Governor Tim Walz summoned the National Guard. However, there was a mostly silent protest in Memphis that was a good example of a peaceful one.
Thankfully, all of the protests so far in Canada have at least started out peaceful. In downtown Montreal, protestors were nonviolent until police deemed the protest illegal and sprayed them with tear gas. Toronto had a rally on the 30th, which had thousands of people marching peacefully. Premier Doug Ford even sympathized with the black community, saying that he and his family have no tolerance for racism of any kind. A day after that, Vancouverites protested outside of the Vancouver Art Gallery, without any arrests.
However, there’s another thing that the protestors should be worried about. The tear gas from the officers can force coughing, which could contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Not every person has been using masks either. Many demonstrators have stood quite close to each other as well, not practicing social distancing. Researchers are afraid that this might lead to an increase in cases.
No matter what your take on the situation is, donating is always an option. Floyd’s brother has organized a memorial fund; there’s also mailing information on the page if you wish to send the family something. Here is a link that has information regarding petitions, donations and more information to educate yourself on Black Lives Matter in USA and or Canada. With your money, you can prevent more unnecessary deaths and incarcerations. Strive to treat others with kindness when in doubt, but also yourself.