Five days before Election Day, the families of victims killed in high-profile cases ofare banding together for a voting rally. The families of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Alvin Cole and Jacob Blake will join forces Thursday to encourage residents to vote like their lives depend on it.
The event's main goal was to "unite a community in action," according to a press release announcing the rally. Taylor, Floyd and Cole were all killed by police officers earlier this year. Blake was the only one to survive his interaction.
Tamika Palmer, Taylor's mother, urged rallygoers to hit the polls. "We have to continue to stand together and fight together. We've been crying, we've been protesting, we've been in the courts. But unless we vote, we will not get the change that we need. We definitely have to get out there to vote. It's more than just a right, it's our duty," Palmer said.
Stephanie Baskin, Taylor's aunt, said they stand united with the other families who share the same pain they feel. "They have these laws designed to continue to keep their knee on our neck," Baskin said Thursday. "We urge you all to use your voices at the polls… Thank you for your prayers."
Floyd's family members urged voters to "vote like your life depends on it," and the sister of Alvin Cole, Taleavia, said Americans should let their emotions lead them to the polls. "This is exactly why we need to vote because your vote matters. Don't let anyone tell you it don't," she said.
Organizers also invited the family of Marcellis Stinnette, who wasby an officer last week in Waukegan, Illinois. The teen's father, Selvin Holmes, encouraged residents to vote in an emotional tribute to his son. "My son Marcellus had no hate in his heart," Holmes to the audience. "He wanted to help young Black people in our community. We brought up a good son. He was going to change the world, and even in his death, you can clearly see what he's doing right now."
The event also featured speeches from Representatives Bobby Rush and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Reverend Jesse Jackson and remote speeches from performers Will.I.Am and Jennifer Hudson.
"The shooting of my son is a tragedy in a long line of violent acts against my family and our people," Blake's father, Jacob S. Blake Sr., said in a statement on Monday. "We are not going to let that stop us. We will keep pushing beyond the election to hold our officials accountable for ending police violence and promoting health care, education and jobs. We have to start with voting."