HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — On Sunday, a Huntsville man completed a 1,000-mile protest walk to the place where George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis back in May.
Terry Willis left Fade Factory in Huntsville on June 2 and started walking towards Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against the handcuffed man’s neck for nearly 8 minutes.
Willis said the “1K Mile March” was a quest for change, justice and equality.
“I thought of the most extreme thing that would get the most attention silently,” Willis said.
Willis said he couldn’t stand idly by after watching the video of Floyd’s death, so he decided to walk to Minneapolis, pay tribute to his memory and try to bring people together.
“I could’ve been George Floyd. I’ve been arrested over 100 times. I’ve been tased. I could’ve been George Floyd,” he said.
Willis said envisioning the life he wants for his 7-year-old son was a driving force to keep him moving and, ultimately, lead him to the finish line on Sunday.
“As far as my younger kids, I want them to understand and believe that they can do anything they want to do, whether I’ve been in prison,” he said.
Along the way of his march, Willis stopped to pay his respects to Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky; Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; and others who have lost their lives at the hands of police.
Willis said the goal is simple: equality for all.
“If I’m a white man and I’m driving and I get pulled over, as a black man driving and a black man gets pulled over, approach the same. Don’t approach the black man more aggressively because of his skin color,” he said.
Willis finished his cross-country trek at the George Floyd Memorial at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in south Minneapolis, where Floyd took his last breath.
He said it’s not the destination, it’s the journey, and hopefully, this is the beginning of change.
Willis plans to fly back home to Huntsville Monday. He said the next step in his journey is to start a non-profit to teach teens and ex-convicts trade skills free of charge so they can have a better future.
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