A month ago I went from the slumber of working from home, where all the days seemed to blend together, to working in the streets where protests over George Floyd’s death erupted.

The pandemic kept the city silent, but Floyd’s death ignited thousands in New York. I listened as their voices filled the air with cries of, “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now! If we don’t get it? Shut it down! If we don’t get it? Shut! It! Down!“

The chants pierced my ears and flooded my soul as I realized they were fighting for me too.

This goes beyond Floyd’s death. It’s also about deep-rooted racism and biases.

I am a Black Caribbean-American woman who grew up in the Bronx, in an area where interaction with the police was a regular thing. Most of it was great. Some of it was bad.

I’ve faced my own share of injustices throughout my life, but still, it is my duty to tell these stories with great accuracy and without any bias, at all.  

I decided the best way to do that was to bring the viewer in. Let them see what I see. Let them hear what I hear - the good, the bad, the ugly, the intense moments and the small glimpses of solidarity between protesters and police. 

I wasn’t going to be a bystander. I told my crew that we were going to embed ourselves into every protest we covered. It was tough, especially when we had to walk with our gear, but the protests were too important to worry about the hardships.

We walked what seemed like tens of thousands of miles, sometimes with two or three groups and for seven hours straight. We went wherever they did, even as they changed plans on a dime and hustled down unplanned routes to try to allude the police. I worried sometimes when we were on dark roads or narrow streets. Those were not places to be if something went bad, but we never left the groups we followed. We were done when they were done. 

I allowed them to tell their stories without censorship, and when there was a standoff, we let it play out on TV so the information was not being filtered to the viewer.

I became familiar with many of the faces I saw day after day, night after night. When things got rough, they were protective of us. Some protesters became testy with the press during a Saturday march to City Hall. When one turned his focus on me, the others quickly jumped in to say, “No, no, not her. That’s the lady from NY1. She has been marching with us for days. She’s at a lot of protests.”

There was a standoff between protesters and police at Grand Army Plaza one night after protesters marched for four hours through the streets of Brooklyn and two hours past the week-long curfew that had been instituted. It looked like things were going to go horribly wrong and we were probably going to get caught in it. My heart raced as I reported live while keeping my eye on the situation. I told the crew that we should hug the nearest tree if there was a stampede, but after 30 minutes it ended with some protesters and police fist bumping each other. It was one of the more peaceful endings at that location that I saw. 

This is the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life. My feet and my back hurt, but the work is far from over.