On Wednesday, peaceful protestors gathered near the White House, turned on the flashlight app on their respective cellphones, held them in the air, and broke out into song, singing “Lean On Me.” It was a moment spectators and participants described as “surreal” and “beautiful.”
According to Hannah Natanson, a reporter for the Washington Post, thousands of protestors joined a man as he sang the Bill Withers classic to the crowd. And according to Rebecca Tan, another reporter for the Washington Post, the sing-along moment followed protestors taking a knee in front of law enforcement.
This isn’t the first group to use the song at their anti-racism protests. In West Virginia on Tuesday, protestors took to downtown Morgantown and sang the song.
Protestors in Jacksonville, Florida were also seen sitting on the steps of the Duval County Courthouse singing “Lean on Me.”
Following the peaceful protest in D.C. yesterday, President Trump installed a 7- to 9-foot high anti-riot fence around the White House, just before dawn today. According to CNN, the fencing extended down 17th Street from Pennsylvania Avenue to Constitution Avenue.
“The US Secret Service does not comment on our protective means and methods for operational security reasons,” a spokesperson told CNN.
Days prior to the peaceful protest, however, Trump cleared protestors who were positioned outside of the White House with tear gas.
“I am outraged,” Budde told the Washington Post. “I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call, that they would be clearing [the area] with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop.”
The nationwide protests are in response to the murder of George Floyd. Today, the first of three memorial services was held today in Minneapolis. A second memorial will be held Saturday in Raeford, NC where Floyd was born, and a funeral will be held on Tuesday in Houston where Floyd lived before moving to the Twin Cities about five years ago.
“Out of all the years that I’ve been marching and protesting and doing eulogies and speeches, I’m more hopeful going to this service than I have been in a long time,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said during a news conference yesterday. “Because I see more Americans of different races and different ages standing up together, marching together, raising their voices together.”
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