It was dusk as I arrived at the Wendy’s on University Avenue where, only days prior, Rayshard Brooks was killed by Atlanta Police Department officers. Upon entering the parking lot, it was clear that this had been made into hallowed ground by Black Lives Matter protesters, who had created a memorial adorned with flowers, balloons, shirts, candles, letters and other paraphernalia.
Protesters were clustered in groups discussing current events and the reasons why they were in attendance. Shortly after the sun had completely receded to the horizon, protest organizers gathered around a candlelight vigil in which one candle was placed on the name of a Black person killed by police such as Tamir Rice, Fred Hampton, and Breonna Taylor.
During the vigil, one man who wished not to be identified held a single candle in the air during a moment of silence lasting 8:46, the amount of time Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin had his neck placed on George Floyd’s neck.
About an hour later, a small argument broke out between protesters as they discovered a man dressed in black garb was adding to the graffiti on the drive-thru side of the building. It was quickly dispersed when it was understood that he was painting a mural to honor Rayshard Brooks.