UPDATE: GHS sophomore Javier Serra sent word that as of 6:00pm Friday night, the GoFundMe page he created to benefit Campaign Zero has continued to receive donations and is currently just below $4,000. “I was so proud of our community and the way we all rallied together today,” he said.
It was warm and humid Friday morning as about 300 young people, mostly from Greenwich High School, marched 8.46 miles, symbolic of the length of time associated with the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody after a police officer pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds on May 25.
Mr. Floyd’s death has been ruled as a homicide and charges against Officer Chauvin, who is being held in lieu of $1 million bail, have been upgraded. Initially he was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. This week he was charged with murder second degree.
The three Minneapolis officers who were with Chauvin during the incident were charged Wednesday with aiding and abetting murder.
Greenwich Police officers including an officer on a bicycle, escorted the marchers along the 8.46 mile route, keeping traffic at a safe distance.
Marchers wore masks, a reminder that the death of Mr. Floyd and the march itself took place in the middle of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
Funds donated to Campaign Zero support the analysis of policing practices across the country, research solutions to end police violence, provide technical assistance to organizers leading police accountability campaigns and the develop legislation and advocacy to end police violence.
Javier said said he hoped every walker would donate to the GoFundMe page and support the work of Campaign Zero to create policies that address police violence, as a part of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
The march started at Riverside School and wended its way to Greenwich Point and around the entire park before returning up Sound Beach Ave and over to Eastern Middle School.
Javier Serra, a GHS sophomore who organized the march said the idea was simple.
“In light of recent events I wanted to do something to help out,” Javier said. “I thought a fundraising walk could unite everyone.”
“I think it’s very important for us to use our privilege and the community we have, that is very open-minded, to do something good and support other communities and to promote unity,” said Dado Suarez, also a GHS sophomore.
A group of Sacred Heart Greenwich seniors, who also live in town, participated in the march, including Micaela Rivera, who said, “To be silent is to be complacent with the racism. This is why I wanted to invite people from all over to come march and protest to bring awareness to this issue.”
“We’re here to stand up and show that we’re in support of black lives, and black lives matter, and we’re in support of ending police brutality and making changes to the system to combat systemic racism,” said Jessica Schelz, a GHS graduate. “As most of us are privileged and not people of color, we are here as allies and show our support.”
“We’re walking because we’re heartbroken about the lack of compassion in our community for people on the margins, and we want to be heard – we’re not representative for the rest of the world or even this country here in Greenwich, but we can still stand with them,” said Chip Skowron. “The turnout says it’s a beginning and we have a long way to go.”
Aside from the large turnout, as of 2:30pm the GoFundMe surpassed its initial $2,500 goal with a total of $3,892 raised for Campaign Zero.