Hannah Beauchamp-Pope was wearing new Nike sneakers when she led a march through the streets of downtown Green Bay almost a year ago in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.It was organized by a local nonprofit called We All Rise, and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay student wasn’t expecting to take the helm, but seeing all the people behind her was energizing, she said.
“Just the fact that we all moved as one community, it gives you goosebumps,” the 19-year-old said. “And to be at the front of that, and kind of leading that, it just put into perspective what you can do when you believe in yourself.”
Her friend Yakaukwetákate Gaia, 20, was at the march too. She was surprised to see people from so many ages and backgrounds, she said. At one point, protestors laid down on the Main Street Bridge for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the same length of time former police officer Derek Chauvin was believed to have knelt on Floyd’s neck.”You could feel the anger and the frustration, and the way that it just went silent, it was definitely kind of horrifying in a way, when you think about how that’s what that man experienced. Utter chaos and noise and fear and then nothing,” she said. Last summer’s protests, set against the backdrop of a pandemic, were historic. And while activists were aiming to make the world a better place, and scientists and health care professionals were fighting to save lives, curators and historians were working to preserve our memories from a year we’ll never forget.