Flint, Mich. — When April Cook-Hawkins heard George Floyd cry out for his mother while he was pinned to the ground with a policeman’s knee on his neck, she got chills.
“That should’ve resonated and woken up every woman to get involved because it’s our sons and daughters that they’re killing,” said Hawkins, Community Organizer and First Lady of the Prince of the Peace Missionary Baptist Church.
Hawkins, who has also been a community activist since 2010, decided to act.
Along with community leaders Catrina Tillman, Trachelle Young and Lela McGee-Harvey, Hawkins organized “The Cries of a Woman” march.
“This movement right here is a call of action for women to stand up to injustice across the board,” Hawkins said, referring not only to injustice within police departments but also within education and health systems.
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The march will take place in Downtown Flint on June 25, exactly 30 days after Floyd was murdered.
There will be speakers throughout the march, including Claressa Shields, Dr. Debra Furr Holden, and Clayton Township Police Chief Charlotte Brown, as well as free COVID-19 testing at the end of the march.
Participants are encouraged to arrive at the Flat Lot, 125 E. Kearsley Street, between 12:00 and 12:30 p.m. so they can listen to the first two speakers and register for a COVID-19 test.
The march will begin at 1 p.m. and end at City Hall at 3:30 p.m.
The lawn outside of City Hall is where the COVID-19 testing provided by Dr. Bobby Mukkamala and Genesee Health Systems, will take place. There will be enough tests for about 200 people and the tests only take about five minutes.
There will also be opportunities to register to vote, meet upcoming candidates and check out local vendors, including the YWCA, United Auto Workers and Moms Demand Action.
Additionally, there will be prayer tents and a raffle to win prayer mats sponsored by S.H.E. Ministries.
“It’s a women’s march to stand in solidarity and call mothers, single women, everyone to come together and stand in unity and say no more to injustice,” Hawkins said. But men are encouraged to “come out anyway to show unity and support to women.”
Participants are asked to wear masks and practice social distancing as they march. For COVID-19 testing Hawkins said people should have an identification and insurance card if they have one. If not, people can still be tested for COVID-19. Hawkins also said, participants can bring a sign and should have “an ear to listen and really be motivated to act.”
“To me, the whole George Floyd thing is very sad, and I know if we don’t come together as a community, things like this will continue to happen,” she said. “I encourage everyone to come out and support this.”