WEDNESDAY, June 10 – Hundreds of protesters marched from the Lansing Center to the Capitol today in a demonstration sponsored by the NAACP Michigan Youth and College Division called “We are done dying.”
As they walked, they chanted, “No justice, no peace” and “George Floyd — say his name,” a reference the Minneapolis man who died after Officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
Among the marchers were U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, who represents Lansing in Congress, and Bishop David Maxwell, the director of the Mayor’s Office of Community and Faith-Based Initiatives. Also marching were Lansing City Council Peter Spadafore and Councilwoman Patricia Spitzley.
Lansing Mayor Andy Schor was on the Capitol steps. It was the first protest march in which he has taken part since they started two and a half weeks ago.
After a prayer and taking a knee, the crowd listened as names of police victims were read, starting with. Eric Garner.
One of the speakers told the crowd that black people are disproportionately incarcerated and black women are more likely to die from pregnancy complications.
The speaker, Allanah Morales, the president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council at Eastern Michigan University, said the rally's purpose was to "peacefully demand our right to live."
Another speaker, Cooley Law School student Eric Miler Jr., said, "We as black people need to stand up and come together."
Kyra Mitchell, president of NAACP's Michigan State Conference Youth and College Division, said, "In the middle of a global pandemic, we find ourselves fighting for our rights."
"This isn't just a black issue," she went on, "This is an American issue."
"Our ancestors built this country only to have the systems built against them. This fight is more than a hashtag. It's more than George Floyd. This fight is about all our lives that have been lost at the hands of weaponized racism."
She broke into tears as she spoke about how her brother does not understand why he can't play with toy guns — a reference to Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy, who was killed by Cleveland police officer in 2014 who saw the youth playing with what turned out to be an air gun.
(City Pulse will continue to follow this story.)