Floyd protest Day 8 blog: Protest begins at I Am A Man Plaza, Civil Rights Museum

By Updated: June 04, 2020 5:23 AM CT | Published: June 03, 2020 6:10 PM CT

Memphis enters into its eighth day of protests following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

Our continuing coverage tonight will include stories, videos and photos.

Floyd protest Day 8 gallery


Darin Abston invites people to Civil Disobedience training

9:29 PM CT, June 3
 
 

 

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Moment of silence outside of The Peabody Hotel

7:11 PM CT, June 3
 

 

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Separate protest begins at National Civil Rights Museum

7:09 PM CT, June 3

A new group split from DeVante Hill’s group.

LJ Abrams felt the need to separate and didn’t like the direction. He didn’t feel like going into the neighborhoods was appropriate. That’s not who they are talking to.

 
 

A third group, Ride of Tears, has joined up with the other protesters. They pulled up in black cars with flashing lights. They urge the crowd to vote.

 

Downtown Express gas station owner opens the doors to every protester to get free drinks and snacks for those who are hungry and thirsty. 

Aman Devji is the owner.

There is a guy who was running down Main Street and has literally been running circles around the crowd, chanting his support for an hour and a half. 

 

 The runner turned around to spontaneously join the group.

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I Am A Man Plaza protest

7:02 PM CT, June 3

DeVante Hill is at the protest. He told the crowd about the meeting he and Frank Gottie had with Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and they plan to discuss it with the protesters. 

Hill is telling the crowd to form a circle around grass. 

He said anyone that needs to vote needs to step on the grass. 

The crowd is yelling “I can’t breathe.”

He is asking for a show of hands for newcomers to the protest. 

Carnea Easley raised her hand. 

“I am glad the city and activists are coming together,” Easley said. “We need unity and not chaos.”

Hill is telling the group like he did last night to stand beside someone of a different race.

“We have to learn to value each other,” Hill tells protesters. 

Everyone is taking a knee for 9 minutes to honor George Floyd. 

Hill is telling the crowd they have been on their knees for two minutes and, “I know it hurts. George Floyd couldn’t breathe and called out for his mama.”

Hill tells the crowd to say names of people killed by police. 

“Say their names,” Hill tells the crowd. 

“Darrius Stewart” and “Brandon Webber” are shouted out by some in the crowd. These are two Memphis young men who were  killed by police. 

Hill is addressing his relationship with Gottie. He told the crowd that they found “common ground” of understanding and are going to move forward together.

Hill is doing a social experiment of separating the group by race like he did at Tuesday’s protest. 

The crowd is shouting “I’m ready to heal.”

Hill said part of mending a community is understanding both sides. 

As Hill preaches to crowd about racial unity another group of protesters are marching toward 201 Poplar. The group said they want to do more than march through the city streets and neighborhoods.

Activist and protest leader Frank Gottie is addressing the crowd.

“I love all y’all and we will work together,” Gottie said. 

Hill said they would not shut out people who disagreed with their protest.

Hill is telling the crowd that they have to be “lit” tonight. 

“You guys are the first group out here since city leaders addressed systematic racism,” Hill said. “That’s why we have to be lit tonight.”

The crowd is now walking around to meet people of another race so they can march together. 

The march is set to begin at 7:32 pm.

Ben Walls stood with a group of women he met and as they elbow-bumped “hello” he said he came out to the protest because “every voice matters.”

Protesters are lining up and someone joked that the group was going to West Memphis today.

They are chanting “Fired up, ready to go “ and the protest march for the eighth day has started. 

About 200 are marching. The group is on Dr. MLK Jr Ave.

Hill is telling the group they are part of history. 

“I am the change,” the protesters are shouting.

They stopped at the intersection. The first stop of the night and taking a knee has become part of every march. 

Hill is reading all the signs people have made.

They are chanting “George Floyd.” Protestors are marching again.

Hill is telling the crowd “this is just one big ole family reunion” as they march to the MLK Reflection Park.

Protesters are facing a black and white picture in the park of protesters in the 1960s. 

Hill is asking for a black mother and a white mother to talk to the protesters and “pour out their hearts” for their perspective.

The black mother said she has three children and all of them have experienced racism. She said her daughter had racist slurs scrawled in her desk at school. 

She said the protest is helping change things. 

The white mother said she is a “typical suburban white mother”

She is telling the crowd that she can buy her son a hoodie and doesn’t have to worry about him getting shot like Trayvon Martin.

The white mother told people to get off their “white suburban couches”

Hill said this is a first for him to have a racially diverse crowd with so many white allies.

The crowd is leaving MLK Park and is back on MLK Avenue.

“No justice, No peace,” chants ring out as group marches down Main Street.

This sign was taped to a parking meter on Main.

Protesters are taking a knee and a march break. 

Hill is asking for a middle aged white man and a middle aged African-American man to address the crowd.

A white man is telling the crowd to come together and love each other. 

An African-American man echoed this sentiment.

They are pausing and honoring George Floyd because his name has impacted the world, Hill told the crowd as they silently sat in the middle of Main Street.

Hill is telling the crowd when they reach their destination it will impact them all and they can go home and love and respect each other.

Protesters are on the move again. 

The crowd is holding hands up as they chant “no justice, no peace.”

The protest is on mostly deserted Main Street. Most businesses are closed.

Still on Main Street. Puck Food Hall is one of businesses open and they showed support for protesters with a sign in the window. 

The group taking another break as a woman overheats.

Hill is asking like last night for any medical professionals in the crowd who can help.

The crowd is on the move toward Front Street.

On Front, under the viaduct, the group is chanting “we ready for change.”

 It’s like a block party as some in the crowd dance and cheer.

Now headed to Tom Lee Park on Riverside Drive.

They are chanting “I Can’t Breathe” as the crowd stops on the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River

Hill is telling the crowd to find a person of another race and tell them”I got you.”

“ lIf you got me and I got you that means we got each other,” Hill told the group.

Hill is telling the crowd to be the “change agents.”

They are joining hands in the park in a circle. 

Hill iis in the middle of the circle telling the crowd that Memphis is “depending on you” because “change is in the way.”

“Whose city?” Hill is chanting. 

The crowd response: “Our city!”

Hill is telling the crowd to turn on the flashlights on their phones as they chant “We ready for change.”

They are handing out hot dogs to protesters now.

The crowd is leaving the park now.

The crowd is now climbing steep stairs as they leave the park 

Crowd got their workout in on that climb. 

Hill letting protesters catch their breath and get water 

The family of Brandon Webber, the man killed last year by US Marshals in Frayser, joined the protest. The crowd is chanting “ Brandon Webber.” 

Curfew is an hour away and Hill telling the crowd there will be no protest Thursday or Friday. The protest will restart on Saturday. 

Hill said city leaders are worried protest will not be peaceful. 

He is telling the group to get on social media and tell people to come to protest on Saturday.

Protest Saturday will start at 6:30 pm starting from I Am A Man Plaza.

The crowd is heading back to plaza on Butler Avenue

They are back under viaduct chanting “we ready for change.”

The crowd is back on Main Street. 

An angry man is calling Hill a fraud. He runs toward Hill yelling, then turns around and walks away.

The crowd losing steam as they slow down the march.

The crowd is stopping in the street and chanting “George Floyd” and “No justice, no peace.”

The crowd is smaller, down to about 100 as many left after Tom Lee Park.

They are singing “Amazing Grace” like the crowd did Tuesday at Mason Temple.

They nearing Clayborn Temple where protesters begin and end

It was a peaceful march on Day 8. Hill said no protest will happen Thursday and Friday. They will be back on Saturday.

They are back at Clayborn. Jessica and Zachary Hurth giving away free T-Shirts.

When asked why Zachary Hurth said, “Why not. We are doing our part.”

The protest has ended on this note.

At end of the march, Hill said the protest on Sunday would be “family day” and churches are being asked to bring families and children. The protest will start on Sunday at 4 p.m.

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Watch live: Protest begins at I Am A Man Plaza

6:51 PM CT, June 3

A protest is beginning at I Am A Man Plaza. This is the eighth night of protests in Memphis following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

Daily Memphian reporter Omer Yusuf is reporting live from I Am A Man Plaza.

Watch below:

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City to have meetings built around protest leaders

6:23 PM CT, June 3

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said the city will have a series of meetings built around protest leaders DeVante Hill and Frank Gottie over the next few weeks about changing police policies and structural racism. 

Noticeably absent were leaders of other protest factions.

Before the eighth day of protesting began on Wednesday city leaders including Strickland and Memphis Police Director Rallings stood with protest leaders at the I Am A Man Plaza and laid out a plan to address police violence against African-Americans and racism in the city. 

“Racism has been built into our system from the very get-go of our country,” Strickland said. “And although we think we are the greatest country in the world, we were based on racism. It is literally in our United States constitution. For 400 years we’ve sinned.”

Protest leaders Gottie and Hill said they met with city leaders earlier Wednesday and said there’s still work to be done. 

Protest leaders and city leaders plan to meet weekly over the next four weeks to come up with solutions. 

Strickland specifically singled out Hill’s effort among the several protest groups active since the Memorial Day death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Some of the different local protest groups have differed publicly and intensely at times in the last week over tactics and challenges to police.

The other groups were not involved in the City Hall in person meeting Wednesday, June 3. Nor was MICAH – Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope – that called Tuesday for a similar dialogue.

“We started this discussion days ago with this group and it just culminated into a personal meeting today,” Strickland said. “And I think Mr. Hill and Mr. Gottie have shown themselves to be the leaders of the peaceful protest.”

Asked if the changes could involve the police response to the protests and leaders of the other groups who Strickland has been at odds with over several years as well as MICAH, Strickland said: “We talked about that today and we will continue those discussions. I don’t have a final answer for you today.”

After the press conference, Hill said the protest would go on Wednesday but not clear about the rest of the week.

Hill said they would have demonstrations 20 more days if needed even though earlier leaders said the protests would end after the four Minnesota police officers in George Floyd’s death were arrested. 

The other three officers were arrested Wednesday.

As people waited for the protest to begin, Stevie Moore with “Stop the Killing,” an anti-violence group, rode by the protest with a hearse to announce his organization was joining Wednesday’s protest. 

“We must all stop the violence, including the police,” Moore said.

As we wait other activists have arrived and are addressing the crowd about their platforms that include police brutality to homicides of children. 

“I’m tired of going to funerals of 12-year-olds and 16-year-olds,” Moore said.

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Watch live: Mayor Strickland speaks at I Am A Man Plaza

6:08 PM CT, June 3

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is speaking at I Am A Man Plaza.

At 6:30 p.m. a protest, led by DeVante Hill, is scheduled to begin at the site. This is the eighth day of protests in Memphis following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

Watch the mayor’s remarks:

 

 

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