The killing of George Floyd sparked a movement to march against police brutality and racial injustice throughout the country and the world.
The group Detroit Will Breathe started marching a few days after Floyd’s death on May 25, and has been on the streets for 120 days.
Why are they marching?
Freelance photographer Nic Antaya sought to answer that question through photographs and their own words. This series of portraits highlights some of the individuals who make up Detroit Will Breathe.
TRISTAN TAYLOR, 37, Detroit
I march because (of) the senseless violence that is perpetrated against Black and brown bodies by the state. The harm and injustice dispensed in this country must end, and I will march until it does.
SAMMIE LEWIS, 23, Detroit
I march because I want opportunities for myself, but (also) for the future generations most of all. I march because I owe it to these kids and babies. I march because I believe in change and the power of people. I believe that we have a chance to really make a difference, and we are.
BRIAN SILVERSTEIN, 34, Detroit
I fight for Black liberation because it is the fight to liberate all peoples. When we march to defund and abolish the police, we mean an end to profit-driven community safety and slave labor. We mean a redistribution of our resources away from punitive and oppressive policing and into housing, water, health care, and education. By eliminating poverty, we will eliminate the conditions that give rise to desperate acts of survival.
FERNANDO WILLIS JR., 26, Detroit
I march for those minorities who do not. Maybe they do not understand its purpose, have obligations that make it impossible to, or have made up their minds not to. We the people here today will not stop fighting against oppressors like Mike Duggan and James Craig until Detroit is free, just, safe, and prosperous for all.
CLAIRE BOWMAN, 31, Detroit
I march because Black, brown and indigenous people in the U.S. and internationally have always been at the vanguard of revolutionary change, and white allyship is not enough in a moment that calls for militant co-liberalism.
ALLEN DENNARD, 26, Detroit
Why do I march, you ask? There are many reasons why I choose to go out and put my life on the line on the streets of Detroit, but the biggest reason for me being out there is to show the city, state, nation and the world that there is a bullseye on our head that will never come off, so marching shows the resilience, determination, passion, and resistance towards the injustices that black lives in this country face every day.
JORDAN WEBER, 26, Warren
I march for justice for our Black family who have died at the hands of police. I march to end the systems in place that oppress Black and brown people around the world. Black lives matter. Free Palestine. End the war in Yemen.
ETHAN LUCAS, 30, Ann Arbor
I march because I have witnessed black and indigenous people of color be oppressed not because of their character but because of the pigment of their skin for over three decades of my life. I march because, as an ally, I have a privilege based off the color of my skin where I can stand up and fight and know that police are less likely to murder me for doing so.
STEPHAN ROCHE, 21, Detroit
The reasons I am motivated to be present with the march are tied to the interests of a multitude, Black people in America. These people first and foremost are on my mind and conscience with regards to acts of service, protection, education and unification. Our so-called Black people are routinely mistreated, underserved, impoverished, and faced with violence at the hands of capitalism (racialized capitalism) on a daily basis.
ADAM DEWEY, 35, Royal Oak
As a freelance photographer, I have come out since the first weekend to document a flashpoint in Detroit’s history… While the typical march provides powerful imagery to accompany the written word, capturing these intense moments can lead to accountability… As journalism presents evidence and facts, my job here to to document the truth.
COURTNEY STRANG, 57, Detroit
I march because I am a proud gay man. I like to say Black Lives Matter is the tip of the spear. Oppression in America goes broader and deeper and manifests itself in ways less obvious than police brutality against people of color. I march because, as a gay man my age, I have spent a half century in a society that has not recognized my full dignity and equality. I march because I know that others have faced even greater inequities.
DEREK GRIGSBY, 63, Detroit
I march to demand justice and equality to all, not only in this state and country, but in the world. The USA is and has been the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, and this fact has been deliberately hidden from a majority of citizens here. Along with the violence is the systemic racism that has been perpetrated against non-white peoples.
BRENDAN SCORPIO, 23, Detroit
I march because others can’t. I march because there are people who are no longer alive or able to march because of the racist society that we all live in. I march because I have the privilege to go home and “not think about politics,” whereas members of historically marginalized communities, specifically Black people, do not have that privilege.
JAE BASS, 25, Detroit
I envision a new normal where my daughter is free to be who she is, free in her own skin. I envision a new normal where Black lives matter. And what I’ve discovered is the only way to make sure black lives matter in this country is if we collectively come together and make them matter. That is why I march. To stand with my people. To stand for my people.
Concept and all images created by Nic Antaya, a freelance photographer to The Detroit News.
Digital production by Tom Gromak, The Detroit News