A small group of Mercer Islanders congregated at the intersection of Island Crest Way and Southeast 40th Street Monday, July 20 to strike for Black lives.
The brief demonstration began at around 11:55 a.m. and ended at 12:20 p.m. At 12:05, protestors, signs in hand, knelt in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds to remember the Black lives lost on account of police brutality.
Eight minutes and 46 seconds was the amount of time white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man — an action that led to the latter’s death May 25.
Organizer Paul West said that the half-hour demonstration was aligned in its intent with nationwide protest efforts. He said he hoped Monday’s strike would draw further attention to the fact that Black people are not only disproportionately affected by police violence but also by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
The strike drew numerous honks and waves from passing drivers. Demonstrators waved around signs that read “White Silence = White Consent,” “Racism is a Pandemic” and more.
Monday’s protest followed two notable Island-wide demonstrations on Friday, June 12, and Saturday, June 13. Both were marches, and drew large crowds.
Like the July 20 strike, the June 12 march included an eight-minute-and-46-second kneel at the intersection of Island Crest Way and Southeast 40th Street.