Taking it to the streets in Minneapolis: Voices of protest

People have poured into the streets of Minneapolis every night since George Floyd died in the street there on May 25, gasping for breath, pinned to the ground by a white police officer, a fatal encounter captured on video.

Photojournalist Joshua Lott has been covering the story for the Washington Post nearly every day since. He met hundreds of protesters who came to the intersection where Floyd was killed, at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, outside Cup Foods. He asked many if he could take their portraits, against two white walls nearby, and recorded audio of them talking about why they protested.

“When you are in a neighborhood where an individual has been killed by a police officer or officers, you see firsthand how traumatizing it is for the people living in the community,” said Lott, who is black and has covered several police-related shootings. “They want to get their message out to the world.“

“I am here standing up for George Floyd. Not only him, for every black person in America, for everybody that is filled with injustice, with rage.”

Ashley Elliot, 23

“We’re doing this for George Floyd, and numerous other unarmed black men that have been killed by the police, and we are tired of it."

Emmanuel Malesh, 24

“I know what it’s like not to see justice. This community needs to see justice, and they need acceptance, and they need our love. Period.”

Susan Larson, 53


“I’m black. I have brothers, lots of family that I care about and love and want to be safe when they’re out just doing everything that humans should have the right to do.”

Anike Sulaimon, 22

Crandon, Wis.

“There’s just so much inequality and injustice going on that it’s gotten to a point where . . . I feel like I can’t sit around anymore.”

Kianee Bouavichith, 18, and Vincent Kim

Chaska, Minn.

“This has been a horrible travesty. This can’t happen again.”

Doran Schoeppach, 55


“I’m with these people that stand for justice. And if I sit back and watch it behind a screen anymore, I can’t live with myself.”

Samantha E., 27

“I have to . . . fight for justice and fight for equality. So that’s why I came here to show solidarity.”

Francis Kipchilat, 42

Minnetonka, Minn.

“Our community deserves better, and we are not going to let down until our people get better.”

Maria Tovar, 18


“I’m protesting for equality. George Floyd was murdered out on these streets, and he shouldn’t have been. . . . And the four officers involved, they need to be arrested, not just the one, but all four of them.”

Josh Melton, 29

Blaine, Minn.

“I want to be here to see the police system get defunded and want responsible action for how they treat people of color.”

Archie Saros, 23

Hayward, Wis.

“I’m just out here today to show my support for George Floyd and for all the others who have lost their lives to systemic racism and to just show that it needs to end now.”

Jada Nutter, 39


“People who are black or indigenous or brown-skinned are discriminated against, oppressed and killed all over. And it must stop. We have to break down the systems that support all of this.”

Fiona Pradhan, 53


“It needs to change. We need to start giving the power back to our communities, is what we need to do. We need to fight for the justices and injustices that are happening in our streets today.”

Alexander Blaisdell-Douglas, 27

Mankato, Minn.

“I am an evangelical Christian. I’m a white woman, and I’m conservative. But I know that there’s a problem with our police. I know that black lives matter. And I know that we need to, as conservatives, stand up against this.”

Deantha Menon, 57

Rogers, Minn.

“This is really important, what’s going on. We can’t sit around and let things like this happen.”

Deevo, 53, and Becky Waters, 45

Eden Prairie, Minn.

“I will be out here until justice is served for George Floyd and all the colored people and men and boys and girls that have died at the hand of the justice system. That’s why I’m here.”

Starla Wesley, 41

About this story

Photo editing by Karly Domb Sadof. Audio editing by Linah Mohammad. Design and development by Irfan Uraizee and Joanne Lee. Editing by Ann Gerhart. Copy editing by Ryan Romano.