Matt Darcy said he was 14 years old when Trayvon Martin, a young black man walking through a Florida neighborhood, was shot and killed in 2012. It was a defining moment for racial anger in the early 2010s — one that echoed across eight years and thousands of miles Saturday afternoon, when Darcy stood in front of the Idaho State Capitol building.
“Me, personally, I’m mad,” he said.
Darcy was there to protest another killing of a black man, George Floyd, who, during his arrest in Minneapolis for attempting to use counterfeit money, died of asphyxiation after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes on May 25.
His death took place amid a global pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 Americans and disproportionally affected people of color. Despite the peril, massive protests and riots have taken place in cities around the country.
“You’d think at a time like this, racism would take a break,” Darcy said.
In Boise, the protest was small, with just a handful of people, many of them wearing face masks, in attendance. They carried signs with slogans like “There Comes a Time When Silence is Betrayal.” Holding that sign was Odalys Valencia, who said she felt connected to the issue as a Latina in a bi-racial relationship, “but I’m realizing my privilege as well.”
“I’m here to support black men and women,” she said. “Latinos are out here to support them.”
For Darcy, the killing of Floyd was a “mockery of justice,” and he said he wondered why people weren’t more outraged, but beyond his anger and frustration, he wanted his demonstration to have a positive effect. He told Boise Weekly that he hoped his presence on the Capitol steps would “get 5-10 people to think differently,” and that by making a stand on the issue, he could make America a better place.
“I’m out here because I want a better future for the people that come after me,” he said.