Hundreds of protesters, many of them students and young people, came out to at least two separate marches in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, marking more than a week of nearly daily protests in the city.
Police cars turned on their lights to escort the peaceful marchers, shutting down several streets near downtown and turning drivers away. Organizers encouraged everyone to “take it slow” in the heat and stay hydrated, with several people passing out bottled water to the crowd.
Taylor Anderson was at the front of one the marches Tuesday afternoon, leading the crowd in chants of “What’s his name?” “George Floyd,” her voice eventually cracking and growing hoarse.
"I had to come out here, because my brothers and sisters are dying, and I don't want to be next,” said Anderson, who lives in Detroit but grew up in Saline. “I don't want my kids to be next. I don't want my dad to be next. So I gotta stand out here, because that's what I gotta do, to make sure my people is alive tomorrow."
Allana Thomas carried a backpack filled with plastic water bottles that she offered up to fellow marchers. Raised in Ypsilanti before graduating from the University of Alabama, Thomas says she’s had “experiences with the police, some good, some not so good. It’s really situational. I think there is this notion that black people don’t feel safe when they go outside, you know? There is this thing where we try not to call the police. Because we feel like they can’t protect us. They will more than likely make the situation worse.”
Thomas says she thinks the protests are continuing across Michigan and the United States because “the rage is building up.”
“People want change. And at this point, we’re feeling like we don’t have a way to grab that change. Because we go to the polls and you know, we’re trying to get to the voting polls and stuff like that, but voter suppression exists. So it’s like we’re running out of resources and we have nothing left but anger. And that anger comes out.
“And sometimes it comes out in healthy ways, like organizing and protesting. And sometimes it comes out in negative ways, like looting and rioting and stuff like that. People are just angry, and they need something to happen. They need something to change.”
Several of the marchers said they wanted to see additional Minneapolis police officers criminally charged in the death of George Floyd. So far, only Officer Derek Chauvin, the officer seen kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, is facing charges. Chauvin was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Editor's note: an earlier draft of this story was mistakenly published, saying there had been 8 straight days of protests in the city. It's believed that protestors in the area took a "day of rest" on Sunday, May 31.