By Tom Travis
Along with thousands of others across the country, Flint residents took to the streets Saturday night voicing their protest of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Beginning around 6 p.m. lines formed at the Target store entrance on Miller Road. Protesters left the parking lot area and began entering the street blocking traffic. Chanting crowds swelled from less than 100 to over 200 protesters through the evening. EVM left the scene around 8:30 p.m. but the protest continued on until past 10 p.m.
The racially mixed crowd chanted in echo-style the phrases, “Hands Up — I Can’t Breathe!”, “Black Lives Matter”, “Say His Name”, “No Justice, No Peace” the protesters carried signs with the words they were chanting.
From the bus stop in front of Target protesters marched westward toward the Genesee Valley mall area. Flint Township and other unmarked police vehicles formed barricades near Lennon and Miller Roads and at the west end of Miller Road near Outback Steak House and Texas Roadhouse to keep traffic at bay. Each time the protesters approached closer to the police cars the police line moved back.
The protesters marched near Outback Steak House and the crowd of protesters began to thin out. But energy was regained as more and more protesters joined ranks with those in the streets. With a growing number the protesters reversed direction and headed east on Miller Road.
Many people stopped in parking lots along Miller Road honking their car horns in support, some waving their arms and cheering on the protesters.
As traffic moved cautiously down Miller Road, protesters gradually mingled in with the traffic forming a stream of pedestrians and vehicles. Many drivers joined in supporting the effort of honoring the life of Floyd and protesting the injustice of his death.
The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis by a police officer kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes has caused an outcry of protests across the nation.
According to media reports, all four arresting officers of Floyd have been fired. The officer who held his knee on Floyd has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Dr. Bobby Mukkamala was with his son Nikhil at the Miller Road protest. Nikhil carried a sign and his father had a picture of George Floyd hanging around his chest suspended on a metal chain while carrying an American flag.
Dr. Bobby and Nikhil marched up and down Miller Road with the protesters. Often Nikhil was at the front of the protest leading them as they marched towards I-75.
Bobby Mukkamala told EVM, “I’m here with my son. I’m here because I didn’t want yet another example of institutional racism to go by and not be remembered by me tomorrow when I go back to work. So the way to keep it on the front of my memory and thinking is to participate in something like this. Otherwise I go back to what I usually do and tomorrow it may fade and I don’t want it to fade. I’d like to keep it in my thought processes as long as possible.”
Mukkamala continued, “And as I was thinking about whether or not to come out here I remembered a quote from Martin Luther King, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.’ And in my humble opinion the arc needs to be shorter and bend faster.”
EVM Assistant Editor Tom Travis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.