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Protesters' passion: Reflecting on the first quarter of the protest journey

Posted at 7:39 PM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 20:39:27-04

MILWAUKEE — For more than 50 straight days, protesters have taken to the streets of Milwaukee, calling for justice and equality.

There are leaders of these protests who can be recognized by their last names; Nitty, Mayes, Dent, Tucker, Lowe. However, the movement is much larger than just these names.

Tyrone Randle said in late May when these protests started, he was willing to give his life for the cause.

And he nearly did.

"I'm in front of the police station, and I ended up with multiple cops around me," Randle said. "They kind of got me to the ground. Next thing I know, I see headlights and I ended up underneath a car."

A reckless driver hit Randle. He says he was dragged about 50 feet by the car. He fractured his pelvis in three places and had multiple fractures to his ribs. He now walks with a cane and still has scars healing from his flesh scraping the concrete for nearly 20 yards.

He spent time in the hospital, racking up roughly $50,000 in medical bills, which he's trying to raise money to help pay for. The 27-year-old was also reduced to being treated like a toddler; he says his grandmother had to help him in the bathroom like he was a baby again.

"The fact I couldn't do anything," Randle said. "The lack of ability to do things was really difficult to cope with."

However, just two weeks after the crash, he was back with protesters, joining in the cavalcade of vehicles participating in the marches.

"It just means I was on the right side of the fight," Randle said.

His resilience is symbolic of this latest social justice movement. It's by no means the first iteration of people taking to the streets because of displeasure with law enforcement. It also likely won't be the last. However, Randle's determination to join back in is what this latest movement is all about.

Protests are the most diverse they've ever been.

And they feel like it's working.

"We just want justice and we want to be able to walk the streets, run the streets, jog in the streets of any place in the United States of America without having a target on our back because of the color of our skin," John Larry, another protester said.

Larry estimates he's participated in 80 percent of the marches. He commends the sacrifice of people like Randle and hopes they understand, the pain they've suffered will not be in vain.

"I am on the front lines, boots on the ground, because justice compels me to be physically present and to ensure that my voice is heard," Larry said.

The movement is no where near finished. Larry said the group hopes to march for 201 days; one day longer than the fair housing marches in 1968. At this point, they've just finished the first quarter. There is a lot of marching left to be done if they want to hit that goal.

And Larry, without hesitation, can't wait to keep it going.

"There is absolutely nothing that's going to stop us," Larry said. "It's going to get cold. It's going to get windy. The snow, the blizzards. But our passion and our fire will cause that to melt."

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