HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A group of protesters grew late Friday afternoon along U.S. 441 in Hollywood, and it even included former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield, who lives in Fort Lauderdale.
“This is important, because the golden promise is to do unto others as you want them to do unto you,” Holyfield said, joining the demonstration against racial inequality.
The protesters gathered at the intersection of 441 and Griffin Road, not far from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, and marched north.
At one point, they sang happy birthday to Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was fatally shot in her home by Louisville police in March. She would have turned 27 on Friday.
They later took a knee and recited the names of African Americans who lost their lives at the hands of police.
And then the group of about 120 people laid face-down the ground with their hands behind their backs, a nod to George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis with an officer’s knee on his neck.
“It’s important for me to come out here to support George Floyd, because he died very inhumanely,” said one of the protesters. “That was cowardly how they did that man, and it’s been happening to us for dang near 400 years. So we want it to stop right here, right now.”
The protest Friday was part of the ongoing national demonstration against racial inequality after the killings of Floyd, Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
One woman who used to work for the Miami-Dade police spoke to the crowd and shared a message about enacting change.
“My message is that I want them to be nonviolent,” she said in an interview after addressing the group. “We want our voices heard, but you have to be nonviolent. You have to get out, you have to go to the polls, you have to vote. Because if you don’t go to the polls to vote, this is how we end up where we are. Policy isn’t going to change unless we go to the polls and vote.”
A large police presence followed the demonstrators at a distance, shutting down traffic and allowing them to march.
Protests in South Florida have remained peaceful this week, and leaders will be watching to see how these demonstrations develop as the weekend arrives. There was unrest in Miami last Saturday night and in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday night.
Another protest is taking place Friday evening in the Wynwood district of Miami.