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Protest organizer marches streets of Milwaukee without shoes to honor ancestors

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Wednesday, June 10, marked the thirteenth day of protests following the death of George Floyd, and the weather has not stopped people from marching.

The rain certainly did bring a smaller crowd out, and like Tuesday night, the group ended their protest early, but they were determined to have their voices heard.

For 13 days, this protest group has started at either Humboldt Park or Cathedral Square. 

They've named themselves the People's Movement of Milwaukee.

On Wednesday night, three dozen people marched together in ponchos despite the rain, and stopped in front of Milwaukee Police District 2, demanding police reform.

The group says they'll be marching for 201 straight days -- rain, shine, and even snow later on this year.

Group leader Jeremiah Thomas decided to do something different Wednesday night. For the very first time, he protested without shoes on.

He was inspired not to wear shoes because he wanted to honor his ancestors who fled the plantations, without shoes on, for their freedom.

"My feet are covered in blisters right now, they're in pain right now, but I'm gonna power through it," Thomas said. "If my ancestors can do it, I can definitely do it as well."

"We hold high value in people donating their bodies and donating their time and their voices, and you know, donating their feet and marching with us in solidarity," said organizer Indalecio De Jesus Valentin. "It not only shows we have a network of supports, but it shows people really care."

Meanwhile, church groups got together at Sherman Park Wednesday to show their support.


They stepped up to raise their voices in the rain -- this time in prayer.

Pastor Robert Bell says he organized the Prayer Walk because everybody needs to do something after recent events, and he says prayer is very important this season.

The Prayer Walk was originally going to be held at the church, but pastors received support on social media from hundreds of people, which moved the event to Sherman Park.

Prayer warriors were split up in every direction, with the goal of building relationships and community during the walk.

Pastor Bell says prayer will bring what people are looking for in the city -- change.

"We truly believe in God, we believe the church is the heartbeat of what's going on in this world, so without the church stepping up and doing what God called us to do, I don't think it's a real change," he said.

Another protest group took part in an all-car caravan instead of being on foot due to the rain. That protest began at 3 p.m. and took off from Washington Park.

While some protests ended early Wednesday due to the weather, more protests are slated to happen Thursday in Milwaukee.

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