Why I Protest

HuffPost asked protesters why they took to the streets. Some were first-time protesters, others took their children, and all of them said they wanted to see change.

By Rowaida Abdelaziz | HuffPost

Protesters across the country and the world are not going home until their message is heard. The death of George Floyd, the issue of police brutality and the fight against racism have inspired people from all backgrounds, faiths and ages to take to the streets to demand justice.

HuffPost collected more than 100 responses from participants across the country — from Boston to Kansas to Oregon to Ohio to North Carolina and everywhere in between. We also received responses from protesters in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, France and the Netherlands.

HuffPost asked each of the respondents about their experiences at protests. Some were first-time protesters, others took their children, and all said they wanted to see change. We asked protesters to tell us why they protested. Here are some of the stories. 

These interviews were condensed and edited for clarity.

Joseph Williams, 52, Retired Police Detective, New Jersey  

A former police detective, Army combat veteran and social science teacher, Williams has seen firsthand what it means to witness and fight injustice ― and when justice is denied.

After the Camden, New Jersey, police department was dismantled and taken over by the county, Williams became increasingly concerned with the new department’s policing tactics, which he called problematic and aggressive. So he retired earlier than planned and went into teaching.

Last week, Williams attended a protest at Philadelphia’s  City Hall with his 20-year-old daughter. He chanted, marched and kneeled.

After the protest, Williams said he “felt a sense of relief. I had to scream. I had to yell. I had to get the words out. I was proud of what I did and my daughter did. I was proud to see so many different people come together,” he said.

“I protest because I care. I care about my future. I care about the future of this country. I protest because I am an African American man who has seen too many violent things done.”

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