A Moving Demonstration

It was about 10 o’clock at night. I was working at my desk, with my window open to Patterson Street. Orderly demonstrations had been happening in Eugene all that day. From 12 stories up, I heard a man’s calm voice giving instructions that I could almost understand. I went to my window, and looked down at the intersection of 11th and Patterson.

A few cars had stopped at the light on 11th, and many people were milling around quietly in the intersection. The man gave them instructions. “Lie down on your stomachs. Eight minutes and 46 seconds.”

They filled the intersection and part of 11th, lying closely packed together, face down on the street. There was total silence. Their bodies were illuminated by the headlights of the first car that stopped on 11th. The traffic light made the only slight sound, turning red, green, red, green.

I had watched the video of George Floyd’s death, just once. I remembered it as I sent my energy down to join those demonstrators. I cried, quietly. The leader’s voice and the voice of a woman gave the demonstrators directions. They got up, quietly, and moved on down 11th, chanting. I watched them go. I no longer have the stamina to march in demonstrations, but it felt very powerful that I was able to join that one from my study window. 

Dina Wills