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Orlando Protesters “Say His Name” at the End of a Week of Solidarity with George Floyd, Victims of Police Brutality

Torrie McGriff was at the protest with her younger sister. “I’m standing here again as a black woman, as a lesbian, saying that I am here because black lives matter, but we can’t pick which black lives are in that group," said McGriff. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

Rain didn’t dampen the spirits of protesters in downtown Orlando last night who stood in solidarity for the sixth night in a row with George Floyd and victims of police brutality.

Torrie McGriff held a sign that read “black trans lives matter, black LGBTQ lives matter” as she listened to speeches before the march.

Protesters kneel in front of Orlando City Hall. Thursday, 06/04/20 . Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

McGriff lives in a neighboring county, but she and her younger sister felt they needed to attend the demonstration. 

“I’m standing here again as a black woman, as a lesbian, saying that I am here because black lives matter,” said McGriff.

“But we can’t pick which black lives are in that group.”

McGriff said not enough attention has been paid to Iyanna Dior-a black transgender woman who was assaulted by more than 20 men in Minneapolis. 

She said she was there to stand up for the basic rights of people like Dior and herself-who shouldn’t have to risk healthcare, jobs, or housing by being out and black.

This demonstrator, named Annie, said she had been part of the Civil Rights movement. “May God help each one out here that’s standing up for justice,” she said. Photo: Matthew Peddie. WMFE

A few paces away, Annie, who didn’t want to give her last name, wore a flowing, multicolored dress and a face mask printed with cherries.

She said she had been part of the Civil Rights Movement, and was there to make sure her black sons and other men, black or white, never had to fear the police. 

“We’ve seen it before,” she said.

“And today I couldn’t help but cry. I couldn’t keep back the tears because it’s so much going on. May God help each one out here whose standing up for justice.”

Another protester who would only identify himself as  ‘A’, wore all black. 

He said direct action, rather than prayer, is needed to make sure law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard.

“So that’s the call for change. To actually get people who are educated as police officers than people who are just straight out of high school with GEDs. Nothing wrong with that but we need education and actual requirements for police officers.”

This demonstrator, who only wanted to be referred to as ‘A’, said police officers need to be held to a higher standard. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

Last night marked the sixth night of protests in Orlando since the death of George Floyd. Demonstrators marched through the streets of downtown before dispersing before the 8 p.m. curfew. 

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer tweeted Thursday night that he would review use of force policies and “make any changes that must be made” while Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings will hold a virtual town hall Friday to discuss bridging the gap between law enforcement and the community.

Claire Elise holds a painting of George Floyd. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

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