Viral video teen protester: ‘I wake up and wonder if I will live or not’

A 16-year-old US boy who got a life lesson at a George Floyd protest from an older demonstrator in a video that went viral, says he wakes up not knowing if he will live or die.

Teenager Raymon Curry was told by 31-year-old Curtis Hayes in Charlotte, North Carolina, that adults did not have the answers when it comes to tackling racial injustice.

In the footage from last Saturday, Mr Hayes pleaded with the child: “What I need you to do right now and at 16 is come up with a better way, because how we are doing it ain’t working.

“You come up with a better way because we ain’t doing it.”

“My dream school is Duke University. And for me to have to wake up and wonder if I’m going to survive to live or not, that’s just sad; no child should live through that.”

Raymon Curry, a 16-year-old protestor, speaks to @NBC_VC’s @QuashieIdun.

— NBC News VC (@NBC_VC) June 5, 2020

The teenager lives with his mother and aims to go to college with his dream being to study at Duke University. But he feels that what happened to George Floyd, could happen to him.

Mr Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis after a white police officer was filmed with his knee on the man’s neck for nearly nine minutes.

Raymon said: “I have many black African-American role models in my life and to see that man die in front of my face, in my head that could have been me.”

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He said that at the protest he became “mad” and “frustrated” because he claimed he had been trying to hold back protesters against police when he himself was pepper-sprayed in the face by an officer.

Why Floyd death could be tipping point for US

Why Floyd death could be tipping point for US

The youngster said a white friend tried to calm him and then Mr Hayes arrived and asked if he was okay before giving him the advice.

Raymon told NBC: “The whole point of the video was to find a better way – to get them to understand, to take your anger and channel it to positivity.

“I’m still young and trying to understand because I have so much anger and aggression towards people who constantly kill us over and over again. And they expect me to come peacefully which is quite unfair.”

Raymon Curry. Pic: NBC
Image:Raymon says what happened to George Floyd could happen to him. Pic: NBC

He continued: “My main focus is going to college, and for me to have to wake up and wonder if I am going to survive and live or not, that’s sad, no child should live through that.”

He said he wanted to be able to go up to police and talk to them rather than walking away from them.

What's motivating so many people to protest?

What’s motivating so many people to protest?

The teenager said: “Nobody should worry about how to please a police officer to the point where they don’t kill you, that’s ridiculous. All I want is justice and peace.

“I don’t want this aggression towards police officers, I don’t want to keep going outside and when I see a police officer I immediately have to turn around or go in the opposite way to the way they are going.

George Floyd. Pic: Shutterstock
Image:Mr Floyd died in US custody in Minneapolis. Pic: Shutterstock

“I want to be able to go to a police officer to talk them, shake their hand, have a conversation.”

He added: “I want to go up to a white person and do the same thing. I don’t want to have to keep changing myself to please these white supremacists and these officers because of my skin colour.

“I want us to come together as a unit and as a community as one and understand each other and be peaceful about this.”

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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