ORLANDO, Fla. - Nearly 1,000 people participated in a mourning and restoration walk in Orlando.
“Walking for peace,” participant Stephen Smith said. “Walking for a cause. Making sure we are present and letting the country know that we care about our folks and that black lives matter.”
Several local churches and elected officials hosted the walk to honor African American people, like George Floyd, killed in the country recently. Members of law enforcement were there, too.
“We need to engage in these type of proactive approach where dialogue is key message that is being delivered,” Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said.
The demonstration was peaceful. Organizers made it clear, the event was not meant to be a protest.
Participants walked down Church Street from Camping World Stadium to Division Street near the Amway where they stopped to pray. The demonstration brought together people from all over.
“I am an old man from Vermont, that grew up in a very white life,” participant Robbie Fitts said. “Now I’m here and I am a part of a very black church and I love my brothers and sisters of the church and last Friday I grieved very deeply that any of them could be harmed because of their skin.”
Erican Bowles also participated.
“I feel like we always think about what would we do if it was back then, but it’s not back then,” Bowles said. “It’s right now and we can use our voice to support each other and love each other and hopefully see a big difference.”
During the demonstration Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer presented a proclamation declaring June 5 as "Walk of Mourning and Restoration Day."