The protests stood out for a couple of reasons. Perhaps most clearly, it was face masks. Public health guidelines strongly recommend, and in some cases, people require that they use these coatings in certain areas to prevent the spread of a virus that is near proximity.
Something else also distinguished these events from others: the protesters themselves.
"Today I mourn the death of justice. Don't you want to mourn with me?" said another speaker.
Black Americans seemed to make up the majority of those in attendance, heartbreakingly announcing that not even a pandemic could discourage people who felt betrayed by their country – I didn't need the video; we knew it already; mourn with me – from trying to do better, anyway.
This black impulse to believe in a country that has not earned such a belief, remembers James Baldwin's words: "I know this sounds distant and I will not live to see that something similar to this hope is going to happen Still, I know that I have seen it – in fire and blood and anguish, true, but I've seen it, "he writes in his 1985 book," The Evidence of Things Not Seen. "
Of course they had to. Part of this country's history is that if Black Americans do not champion their own, no one will.