Kneel for Nine: Demonstrators gather across Wisconsin to pay tribute to George Floyd

Kneel for Nine: Demonstrators gather across Wisconsin to pay tribute to George Floyd

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Hundreds of people around the state got on their knees for nine minutes Tuesday evening to honor George Floyd and promote change and equality peacefully.

Protests happened in suburban areas of Milwaukee earlier Tuesday. 

A handful of Kneel for Nine events happened at 5:30 -- the nine represents the minutes Officer Derek Chauvin's knee was on George Floyd's neck.

"Why are we so unwilling to talk about something that just needs to be talked about?" asked a Kneel for Nine organizer.

In Brookfield, dozens of children and adults gathered at a park and ride facility to peacefully protest what happened to George Floyd.

A majority of the protesters were white. 

"This is the most segregated city in the entire country, and it is within the white community that racism needs to be disassembled and so we're here," the organizer said. 

Tears ran down the faces of people on their knees. 

"It was emotional and I was tearing up and you know, my daughter got here late, she was on the other side, she's very emotional about this," said Robert Jenkins, a Kneel for Nine supporter.

Milwaukee also held a number of Kneel for Nine events, including one in Humboldt Park.

The message of the nationwide Kneel for Nine is to initiate change in police accountability, engage white supporters and churches and emphasize black history. 

"People that are gonna be attending this, it's gonna be for the very first time and it's very important that it's not their last time," the organizer said. 

"I have to talk and have discussions with my children as they grow, as to what's the right thing to do and what's the things that might get you into issues just by living your life," added Jenkins.

Kenosha also garnered dozens of supporters.

Protesters say the nine minutes of kneeling felt like a struggle.

"It's even hard for me to kneel for nine minutes in a parking lot just of your own volition," Jenkins said. "I can't imagine someone putting pressure on my neck for nine minutes."

Organizers say part of the Kneel for Nine message is to remind everyone we're created in God's image, no matter what the color of our skin is.

"Black lives matter to God and so I know a number of churches that I've heard of throughout our community are doing this as well."

"Every color is beautiful, every color's culture is beautiful, and when we say we're colorblind, what we're really saying is we don't see the struggles you go through."

The Kneel for Nine demonstrations aren't only happening in Wisconsin. Neighboring states, including Illinois and Minnesota, among a number of others are also involved.

Share this article: