National to local: Black Lives Matter protests sparked by recent homicide of George Floyd

Isabel Ames

“I can’t breathe, man. Please. The knee in my neck. I can’t breathe. I can’t move. Mama…They’re going to kill me.” 

These were the last words of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man killed by white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, on May 25. For eight minutes and 46 seconds, Chauvin dug his knee into Floyd’s neck, a restraint move banned by most police departments, including that of his own precinct. Gathering crowds made several attempts to save Floyd, urging Chauvin to remove his knee and condemning the bystanding officers’ lack of action to help Floyd.

Chauvin only removed his knee after an ambulance arrived and an Emergency Medical Technician told him to do so, but it was too late; Floyd’s death was caused by asphyxiation, a condition arising when the body is deprived of oxygen.

Precipitated not only by Floyd’s death but also by the prevailing injustices that continue to occur against African Americans in the U.S., a global response has ensued. Protests have occurred all over the world every day since the death of Floyd, many of which have taken place locally: in San Francisco and at Drake High School for five consecutive days, as well as in Marin City on June 2. Katherine Overby, a junior at Drake has participated in both the Drake and Marin City protests. 

“[The Drake protest was] all ages, all genders and all races. It was everyone in the community coming together holding signs for people driving by on the road,” Overby said. “Everyone in their cars were honking in support. The police were silent. At the end of the protest there was a police officer who turned on his sirens and waved at us in support.”

Protesters came prepared with signs. Some of which read, “Silence is Compliance,” and “Shoot the fuck back.”

On June 1, thousands of protesters assembled at Oakland Technical High School and marched two miles to Oscar Grant Plaza in a peaceful protest. Police officers did not intervene during the protest but used tear gas on and arrested over 40 individuals protesting past the 8 p.m. curfew. Tamiscal student Charlotte McAdam attended the protest and was grateful for its lack of violence.

“The media only shows the worst riots and the worst violence in the protests going on. The protest today was only about spreading love and positivity and about allowing people to speak their mind on the inequalities that are going on in our country and that have been going on in our country for years,” McAdam said.

Superintendent Dr. Tara Taupier sent out an email to the Tamalpais Union High School District community on June 1, encouraging a time for reflection of the racism that persists in this country.

“As a learning institution, it is imperative that we provide space for our students and staff of color to be heard and to amplify their voices. Further, we must ensure that we have anti-racist learning embedded throughout our curriculum. It is time for us to act and be anti-racist, to follow what I truly believe is in all of your hearts. For those of us who are white, we must not be complicit through silence. We must engage in dialogue that moves us forward towards being an inclusive and loving society,” Taupier wrote.

A number of resources were provided in the email to promote a more educated and anti-racist community.

Protests are expected to continue, and public officials are urging participants to stay safe. If you choose to be involved, you can also visit for ways to support the movement from home.