ATLANTA — Atlanta has seen days of continuing protests, as people pour into the streets to demand an end to police brutality and institutional racism in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
11Alive's Hope Ford has been there nearly every night, on the ground at Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta's epicenter for the protest actions, hearing from demonstrators.
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11Alive is Where Atlanta Speaks, so we've collected a dozen of her interviews and are presenting them below, a collection of voices that explain the hurt, frustration and, still yet, some optimism motivating those who are speaking out.
'Laws have to be changed. Police have to be held accountable'
- "Until that happens, we're going to be out here. We need a law changed. That's what needs to happen. It's when there are words put to paper and those papers are passed."
'It's deeper than just a gunshot. This is institutionalized.'
- "I felt the need to come down because I have two black brothers and I have two black nieces, and it pains me at night when I think about the possibilities," Mikayla told us. "And I came down to show support for my people, because I believe in something better than this."
'We're sick of not being heard'
- "So many people are being demonized, being attacked, being terrorized - even by our own president of the country, calling us thugs," Georgia State student Antoine told us.
'This could be him. It could be his brothers.'
- "I want him to see and be a part of this movement, so that when things do change ... he was a part of this," a mother who brought her young son said.
'This is gonna go down in American history'
"It's sad that it took a tragedy to bring everybody together," one protester told us. "I just hope that there's more people out there that can understand the importance of making a change."
'What do they want from us?'
- "We were peaceful. Police and governors are calling for peace - they get peace, and their response is violence," one young man said. "I've heard a lot of words over the years, nothing comes of it. We're still fighting the same fight we've been fighting since the Civil Rights Act."
'Silence is betrayal'
- "We are angry at police brutality, we are angry at systematic racism," an activist, Felix, said. "And as long as we can, we'll be out here to make sure that our voices are heard. And hopefully changes will come from it."
'We shouldn't have to have this conversation. I shouldn't be here.'
- "Out of nowhere my son called me, he usually texts me, and before we even spoke a word my heart started beating cause I was worried about him," a father, who said his own mother was a Chicago Police officer for 28 years, said. "I shouldn't have to feel that way."
'It's important to physically show up'
- "This moment, this cause has been actually spanning for over 400 years now, and I think we've been complacent for a large amount of time," one protester said. "It's important to be out here and to be with the community when you're fighting for a cause."
'Y'all gotta be smart about how you protest'
- "We can protest, be loud, I want y'all to do all that," said one man, making a plea for safe protests. "But guess what? People die, and we're trying to prevent a lot of us dying."
'I wanted to experience it firsthand'
- "Seeing it on social media is one thing, but being in there is a better experience," one man told us.
'There's something in the air'
- "Whether it's the revolution or the unification, something keeps bringing me down here," said a young man who'd been Downtown three straight nights "That's the only reason why I feel like I keep making my way down here."
'I want justice for my people'
"Man I thought we closed this chapter when the King died / but I guess they always see as some slaves traumatized / RIP George man," Athens artist wolfg@ngz rapped.