TAMPA, Fla. — More than 100 people gathered at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa Sunday morning to honor the life of George Floyd and demand justice against racial inequality.
“Ultimately, we have to shine a light on an issue that’s been glaring in this country for 400 years,” said Omega Psi Phi member Jean Vixamar.
Dozens of members from multiple chapters of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity stood in solidarity, nearly two weeks since George Floyd lost his life in police custody.
“It’s not just police brutality,” said Vixamar. “It’s social injustice. It's wage disparity, education disparity, access to information. It’s prevalent throughout American society.”
Fraternity members joined in a powerful moment as they stood in silence for the nearly nine minutes Floyd had a knee pinned to his neck.
“Just imagine holding your breath under water,” said Vixamar. “You can barely do a minute, most people. Multiply that by 8, almost 9.”
“By doing that, you really got a chance to see how long 8 minutes and 46 seconds was. And that was us standing of our own free will, not being held down by a knee,” said Omega Psi Phi chapter leader Albert Lee.
Many supports gathered in a semi-circle around the fraternity in support. Those supporters reminded the community that peaceful demonstrations can bring about change.
“It’s not that we are demanding something that I don't believe is unreasonable,” said Paul Sheehy. “I believe that we’re asking for something that’s very reasonable. For equality for all, for all Americans, for peace, for freedom. Freedom for all.”