(Updated at 5 p.m.) Alexandrians came out in droves on Thursday and Friday in support of George Floyd and a number of African Americans who have died at the hands of the police.
Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson said at a peaceful demonstration at Charles Houston Recreation Center that there needs to be a revolution within local government to pass legislation that helps residents of color.
“Sometimes in an argument someone says, the words, ‘Calm down,’ and then 100% of the time that does not work,” Wilson told the crowd. “Let me say to you tonight, do not calm down.”
Alexandria resident Ivory Bean took the stage at Charles Houston just as Police Chief Michael Brown was about to speak.
“You should not think you are above the law, and these things give you the power and give you the feeling that you’re above the law,” Bean said. “And when the law protects you in murdering people, then it just continues the cycle. So, until the law stops protecting these murderers, that’s when you won’t see us anymore. That’s how you will pacify us.”
Brown said that he and the officers in his department consider the Floyd killing a homicide, and that Alexandria police are aware that changes need to be made in the city.
“I will be listening,” Brown said. “I listened here. I’m not your enemy, and I understand I have to earn your respect and black lives do matter.”
James Daniely, the pastor at Roberts Memorial United Methodist Church, spoke as well.
“When we talk about Black Lives Matter, it’s not just political rhetoric,” Daniely said. “It has to do with how the minds work, to allocate housing, not just three houses in a new development, but to see that people who live in the community have an opportunity to stay there.”
Another vigil is planned tonight (Friday) at 7 p.m. at Tenants and Workers United in Arlandria.
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Staff photos by James Cullum
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