Thousands participate in solidarity protest in Worcester

WORCESTER, Mass. — Thousands marched on the streets of Worcester Monday night to protest police brutality and honor the life of George Floyd.

Amplify Black Voices led the event, starting at the Worcester Common at City Hall before a march to the courthouse. There, along with Worcester Police Chief Steve Sargent, the crowd kneeled.

Protestors chanted the words Floyd spoke before he died beneath a Minneapolis police officer's knee: "I can't breathe."

Their message was loud and their protest was peaceful.

"I’m hurt, I’m scared," said court officer and youth mentor Woodrow Adams, Jr. "I have kids of color myself, and I’m afraid for them as well as myself. I’ve been through different experiences when I was young growing up where I’ve had interactions with the police that were not good."

Adams helped organize the event and spoke to the crowd on the common, where the names of dozens of black people were written in chalk on the ground.

"For the past week or so, I’ve been tossing and turning, and I wake up in cold sweats," Adams said. "I hurt for the people and the lives we lost. I hurt for our future."

Many families took part in the solidarity protest, including the Whalens. David and Aly Whalen brought their 10- and 12-year-old kids to the event.

“It’s just so important to us as a black family in the city to stand together,” Aly Whalen said. “Obviously, we were devastated over the horrific murder of George Floyd, but also just showing [our children] that we’re here and this is our culture, and this is who we are, and we’re here to support our people and make change.”