For 8 minutes and 46 seconds under a relentless sun in a cloudless sky, James Wilson knelt on a concrete sidewalk along Genesee Street.
“I started crying,” said Wilson, a licensed practical nurse at the Woodward Health Center, part of Anthony L. Jordan Health Center. “The only thing I could do when I was kneeling was pray.”
Wilson and about a dozen colleagues took part in White Coats at Jordan Health Take a Knee, a silent rally June 5 to support the Black Lives Matter movement and to remember George Floyd.
“It’s so sad,” Wilson said. “For somebody for their last breath to be another man with their knee in their neck. And to know that right at that moment you’re about to die. That’s scary. That shouldn’t be a way for anybody to go.”
Staff at Jordan’s other locations, as well as health professionals elsewhere, participated at their own sites.
Wilson said that he didn’t keep track of the time. He said that when he saw colleagues rise, he got up. He said that while kneeling, his knees, ankles and calves got weak.
“And I started thinking that a police officer had his knee in George Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes,” Wilson said. “Over eight minutes. That is a long time. … He was saying he couldn’t breathe. The signs were there. Being a cop, you’re supposed to be observant. … I don’t know what was going on in his head. I can’t pick his brain.
“All I know is there’s too much going on right now,” Wilson said. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic and we still have racism going on and it seems like it’s heightened right now. It seems like a time we’ve gone so far, yet we’re right around the corner from where racism first started.”
The Jordan event coincided with the start of the Black Lives Matter rally in front of the Monroe County Office Building, which in itself began two days of protests against police brutality and racial injustice. The peaceful rallies ended around 7 p.m. Saturday with leaders of youth rally at Martin Luther King Jr. Park calling for the hundreds in attendance to go home and rest because, as they said, the work is not done.
Below are images from some of the rallies.