The protest began with people kneeling in silence for eight minutes and forty-six seconds.
That is a long time. And, the leader of the protest explained, it “was the exact amount of time that George Floyd’s neck was knelt on by a cop that murdered him”.
The whole of York’s Parliament Street was filled with Black Lives Matter campaigners yesterday (Wednesday), young and old, carefully socially-distanced. By kneeling they made a united stand for humanity; by staying silent they sent an unmissable message.
Organised by York Stand Up To Racism, the event invited people to speak about the racism they had encountered.
Janet Alder spoke to the gathering by phone. Her brother Christopher choked to death while handcuffed and lying face down on the floor of a police station in Hull in April 1998.
No one has been held accountable for what the inquest ruled was an ‘unlawful killing’.
She urged people to remember black people who had died violent deaths in Britain, including Stephen Lawrence and Joy Gardner. And she called for the prosecution of police officers involved in the killing of black people.
Janet said: “We must stand against racism in all its forms. This is an opportunity, a global movement – and you are part of it.”
Another speaker said they were demonstrating against racism, not only as shown by US police officers, but in the UK in education, health and job opportunities.
“The only way we can counter the virus of racism is by solidarity. It’s not about being white or black, it’s not about being a man or a woman, it’s not about being working class or unemployed, it’s about showing humanity.”