The city of Atlanta burned on the night of May 29, 2020. In response to the death of George Floyd, hundreds initially marched peacefully in downtown Atlanta to shed light on police brutality and racial injustice.
However, the protest turned violent as some set police cars on fire, destroyed property at the CNN Center, College Football Hall of Fame and a gift shop inside of Cenntenial Olympic Park. Some protesters also looted stores in the city’s affluent Buckhead area.
In an attempt to bring calm to a tense situation, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called on rappers Killer Mike and T.I. to provide a bit of guidance. Killer Mike gave a gut-wrenching speech about race, police brutality and unrest in America.
“I’m mad as hell,” Killer Mike said. “I woke up wanting to see the world burn down yesterday because I’m tired of seeing Black men die. He casually put his knee on a human being’s neck for nine minutes as he died like a zebra in the clutch of a lion’s jaw. And we watch it like murder porn over and over again.
“So that’s why children are burning it to the ground. They don’t know what else to do,” Killer Mike continued. “And it is the responsibility of us to make this better right now. We don’t want to see one officer charged, we want to see four officers prosecuted and sentenced. We don’t want to see targets burning. We want to see the system that sets up for systemic racism burnt to the ground.”
Killer Mike urged protesters not to burn their own city in the midst of their anger.
“I am duty-bound to be here to simply say that it is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy,” he said. “It is your duty to fortify your own house, so that you may be a house of refuge in times of organization. And now is the time to plot, plan, strategize, organize and mobilize.”
Instead of reacting with violence, Killer Mike told protestors to use the power of the vote to create change.
“It is time to beat up prosecutors you don’t like at the voting booth,” he said. “It is time to hold mayoral offices accountable, chiefs and deputy chiefs. Atlanta is not perfect, but we’re a lot better than we ever were, and we’re a lot better than [other] cities are.”
View video of Killer Mike’s full speech on the next page.