Rev. Al Sharpton’s keynote speech, several families of those who have been affected directly by police brutality spoke to the crowd sharing their pain and grief.
First was Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, the EMT worker who was shot and killed in her home. The police officers who killed her have yet to be charged since she was killed in March. The cries for action against them continue to be pushed.
“What we need is change and we are at a point where we can get that change but we have to stand together and vote,” said Palmer after thanking the crowd.
She smiled as she stood, listening to thousands of people in unison shout “Breonna Taylor…Say Her Name!” especially at a time when so many people are forgetting that Taylor’s killer still remains uncharged.
Palmer was replaced on stage by Philoneos and Brittany Floyd, the siblings of George Floyd, who were there today to speak about their own grief and loss. Their brother died on May 25 in Minneapolis after a police officer put his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while arresting him.
Overwhelmed by emotion hearing the crowd shout his brother’s name, Philoneos Floyd struggled to speak but was able to say, “I wish George was here to see this right now. That’s who I am marching for.”
“Change is happening right now because we are demanding it. Everyone here has made a commitment because they wouldn’t be here for no other reason right now,” said Brittany Floyd. She also asked the crowd “How will the history books remember you? What will be your legacy?” She implored people to continue to weed out the hatred in the world just as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did 57 years ago.
Both Floyd siblings spoke about their pain being reignited by the recent news of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, shot seven times in the back on Aigust 23 as he was being stopped by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake’s father and sister were also at the march prepared to speak to the crowd.
Letetra Widman, Blake’s sister, also spoke where she pushed Black men and women together in the fight against racism and hatred She was joined by Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., who spoke about meeting Rev. Al Sharpton when he was just 7-years old. He didn’t have any idea he would be meeting Sharpton again around these circumstances. Blake Sr. mentioned that there are two systems of justice in the United States: one for Black people and one for white people.