Richmonders react: Virginia’s 5000 Man March brings out emotions, calls for change


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Thousands gathered on a warm Saturday in Richmond to participate in Virginia’s 5000 Man March — including a speech from the cousin of George Floyd, the man killed by a police officer in Minneapolis.

Many of those who gathered during the march told 8News that it brought a lot of emotions out for people supporting Black Lives Matter in the Capital of the Confederacy.

Lorraine Gilyard said she has lived in Richmond for 50 years and loves seeing all different races joining together to support Black Lives Matter while trying to bring an end to racial injustices throughout the community.

“It’s bringing like tears to our eyes because seeing people come together instead of seeing people fighting against each other, seeing people join together; it was very emotional. Like I said — bringing tears to my eyes,” said Gilyard.

Tavares Floyd, the cousin of George Floyd, stepped on to the Robert E. Lee Monument and was welcomed by applause from the surrounding crowd of demonstrators.

In an emotional speech, Floyd spoke about many different racial inequalities that the black community faces throughout the nation, but also here in the Commonwealth.

Floyd asked everyone to take a deep look at themselves, and implored them to be the change they want to see.

“I can’t breathe,” Floyd said, reciting some of his cousin’s final words. “My cousin perished and he died pleading for his mother, and he died at the hands of police officers. That’s what it means to be a black man in this country.”

Floyd also said that when he saw what had happened to his cousin, he saw George was carrying more than just the weight of the officer, but the weight of the nation — on his neck.

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