Black Americans fighting for equality on the frontlines of the Black Lives Matter protests explain what the movement means to them
Polls suggest that about 15 million to 26 million people in the US have participated in recent anti-racism rallies, according to the The New York Times. Broadly speaking, protesters are calling for police reform, reparations for slavery, and policies that invest more in Black and brown communities. Business Insider spoke with several Black Americans participating in New York City rallies to understand what the movement means to them. View more episodes of Business Insider Today on Facebook.
Since the killing of George Floyd on May 25, millions of Americans have taken to the streets in protest. Recent polls suggest that about 15 million to 26 million people in the US have participated in anti-racism rallies, The New York Times reported. On a large scale, protesters are calling for police reform, reform to the justice system, reparations for slavery, more investment in education, and policies that recognize in essence, that Black lives do indeed matter. But on a personal level, the movement means so much more than one chant or slogan can capture. Business Insider spoke with several Black Americans participating in New York City rallies to understand what the movement means, in their own words.SEE ALSO: Americans are calling on the C-suite to take a stronger stance on racial inequality. Tennille Newbold, 26, organized a Juneteenth march from Harlem to Central Park in Manhattan. For her, peaceful protest is a way to process the incomprehensible.
"We are tired. We are tired of waking up every single day and seeing Black death," she said at the rally.
As a child, she struggled to understand why the color of her skin meant some people viewed her as less than. "I just remembered thinking that wasn't fair," she said.
"We Black people have done nothing to deserve this. They brought us here on slave ships, they separated us, took our language, took everything from us, mistreated us until today. It hurts," her father, Melvin Newbold, 61, told Business Insider.
For Genisha Metcalf, 33, a mother of two children, participating in peaceful demonstrations is a chance to educate her children on what it means to be Black in the US.
"I want to make sure that they are a part of what's happening, they're not just bystanders. Also just making sure they are fully aware of their Blackness — and fully aware of just how dark and difficult these times are. Because I never want them to discount how hard people are working to make the world better for them," she told Business Insider.
The movement is also about celebrating Black joy with her family, friends, and community, Metcalf said.
Jamaal Duarte, 18, had just graduated high school when George Floyd was killed.
"After the death of George Floyd, I was in like a weird state because I didn't really know how to process what was happening," he told Business Insider. "I wanted to do something and actually be a part of rectifying the situation. So the protests is what I naturally came to."
For the young activist, police reform is top of mind. "We need a solution for why police officers are just killing African Americans at an obscene rate," he said.
"I'm actually really thankful I'm a part of this generation. We know we can actually make a change in our own country. And that's what we're doing. We're just taking the reins," he said.
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