DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan joined a unity march through Detroit to honor the life of George Floyd.
The march was organized by Greater Grace Temple to honor Floyd. Whitmer and Duggan joined local clergy and law enforcement members, starting in Highland Park and ending on Woodward Avenue near Wayne State University.
Over the last week, many demonstrations across the country have gotten violent as residents protest police brutality and Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
Buildings have been burned, property has been destroyed and people have been hurt and killed.
That hasn’t been the case with Detroit protests, which have been mostly peaceful. On Thursday, officials gathered to prove it’s possible to rally and protest without violence.
“It was the black church that invented the nonviolent movement and the peaceful protest,”Bishop Charles Ellis said.
Chants of “Black Lives Matter” could be heard at times during the march.
“Dr. King and those individuals -- they didn’t have signs with profanity, illicit things and all of that information,” Ellis said. “They were being treated much worse than anybody could ever imagine, but they found a way to change the world with a peaceful movement.”
Several hundred people joined the march in sweltering heat. They gathered in Highland Park and marched down Woodward Avenue.
“We need to stand up and we need to speak out and we need to take action,” Presbyterian leader Bob Agnew said. “Changes need to happen.”
Canton Township resident Lanore Grantham said this can’t just be lip service.
“Change is when we can all understand our differences and know just because we are different doesn’t mean we’re less than,” Grantham said.
As the march neared Wayne State, everyone turned the corner at Warren Avenue and took a knee, giving Floyd a moment of silence.
The miles-long march also included Michigan State Police troopers and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist.
“We know that we are at a tipping point in this country and we cannot let this day only be a day,” Whitmer said. “It has to be the step forward toward this march for justice.”
The march was one of many in the state, including Saginaw, Niles and Kalamazoo.