“We just need to put the guns down,” said Campfield, 64, who lives in Hyattsville.
“We’re killing each other, and we got the gangs in blue that are killing us as well,” Campfield said, referring to police. The officer who shot Campfield Jr. was put on administrative leave during the investigation, but the outcome could not be determined Saturday.
Monica Watson, 53, and Carol Harrison Lafayette, 54, who were among the dozens of women in Campfield’s group, paused to get their temperatures checked by Howard University medical student volunteers before receiving masks and hand sanitizer to brave the day.
Watson, who is Black, said her 26-year-old son, Montez Hambric, was killed by police in Winston-Salem, N.C., on May 25, 2014. “I want to speak out because it’s a little small town, and my son’s case got swept under the rug,” she said. The police officer who shot her son was later cleared of wrongdoing.
Watson had taken money she budgeted for rent to drive from Durham, N.C., to the march. It was her first time in the District, and she was most interested in hearing from the other mothers. “We got a pain that don’t nobody feel but us,” Watson said.
The recent police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., moved Watson to attend the march. “When I saw that, I fell to my knees, just like I did when George Floyd got killed,” she said through tears.
She hoped being out would bring her a little peace. She had the opportunity to meet a longtime friend of George Floyd, Travis Cains, who offered her words of comfort.
Another mother, Dee Crane, flew in from Arlington, Tex. She said her son Tavis Crane was killed by police in 2017 in Arlington after a traffic stop when he was 23. A grand jury voted not to charge the officer in his death.
Crane, 56, said she is fed up with the little progress the country has made.
“They give us little pieces of crumb and expect us to go back to our corners and be happy,” she said. “I’m sick of crumbs. I don’t want a slice of the pie, I want the whole pie. I need the whole pie. We need the whole pie. Our ancestors made the pie.”
As a young girl, Campfield said, she attended the 1963 March on Washington, where she heard the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. give his “I Have a Dream” speech. She pointed on Friday morning to the clearly visible water of the Reflecting Pool. Back then, she said, the water wasn’t visible because people were standing in it. She remembered seeing people sleeping in tents.
“I was a youngster,” she said. “I still remember it like it was yesterday.”
She said the country has “come a long way, especially to have the first Black president, but we still have a long way to go.”
Campfield left the rally in the early afternoon during Sharpton’s speech, after it became clear there would no longer be time for a handful of women in her group to offer remarks, she said. By the time she walked away, more than 20 people had moved to stand in the Reflecting Pool, just like the marchers did on that day in 1963.