UNITY IN DAYTONA

‘I Can’t Breathe’ peaceful protest draws hundreds

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

A diverse crowd participated in the June 11 protest in Daytona Beach. It included law enforcement, clergy, local activists and elected officials.
PHOTOS BY DUANE C. FERNANDEZ SR./HARDNOTTSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

About 500 people participated in the “I Can’t Breathe’’ protest in Daytona Beach the evening of June 11.

The peaceful event was a team effort of the Daytona Beach Black Clergy Alliance, the MLK Celebration Committee, city leaders, law enforcement, Bethune-Cookman University School of Religion, and other faith-based organizations.

A rainbow of unity was displayed as people of all races, ethnicities, cultures, backgrounds, faiths and ages participated.

There were chants of “I Can’t Breathe,” “No Justice! No Peace!” and more as well as plenty of signs including those stating Black Lives Matter (BLM) as well as people wearing BLM shirts.

The theme was all about standing against racism, injustice and police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who lost his life to police in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25.

In the local protest, police officers walked side by side with protesters.

It began with a march from City Island west on Magnolia Avenue to south on Ridgewood to City Hall where a rally was held on the doorsteps of City Hall.

Prayers were given by religious leaders while speeches were given by Daytona Mayor Derrick Henry, Police Chief Craig Capri, NAACP President Cynthia Slater and several religious leaders.

“Daytona Beach is proud of our history, heritage diversity and police. We stand with the rest of the country. We recognize our justice system is on trial. We say it with the world,”No More”. We’re calling for justice in Daytona Beach, Florida, the United States and in Minneapolis Minnesota,” Henry said.

The Rev. John Paul McGee, senior pastor of the Hope Fellowship, said, “From 1619 to 2019 was 400 years of our people being disrespected, degraded, oppressed, belittled, beaten, bullied, killed and more. In 2020, it stops now.”

MLK Celebration Committee Chair Kim BrownCrawoford stated, “We are working to make things happen for our people right here in Daytona Beach. There is still a lot of sugarcoated racism that must stop. I am glad to see this rainbow of support here in our city.”

PHOTOS BY DUANE C. FERNANDEZ SR./HARDNOTTSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

Capri added, “Police brutality will not be tolerated. This city won’t stand for it. All violence must stop. Violence against police must stop. We are also in the process of reviewing our policies.”

The local NAACP chapter also registered people to vote prior to the event.

There are plans to hold more peaceful protests in the city. The dates, times and locations have yet to be determined.

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