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Conversations: 'I was just so used to it that I didn’t feel like I could do anything'
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Christen Lott Hunte protests June 2, 2020, on the side of Jesse Jewell Parkway. - photo by Kelsey Podo

When Christen Lott Hunte, 27, of Gainesville, watched the video of George Floyd crying out for his mother in pain, she said her heart broke. 

“There was no shock, it was more so outrage than anything,” she said. “Personally, I feel like in the past when these situations come up, I don’t feel like I did enough. It became so common that I was just so used to it that I didn’t feel like I could do anything.”

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 30, Lott Hunte decided “enough was enough.” 

Conversations on race
The Times is sharing perspectives from those who have protested on Gainesville’s streets in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Those who would like to tell of their experiences can reach out to to be put in touch with a reporter. Full names must be provided.

She left her home and marched with a crowd of people through Gainesville. In the days following, she continued showing up on the side of Jesse Jewell Parkway to protest and share the message that “all lives can’t matter until black lives matter.”

“We’re not out to vandalize. We’re not out to riot,” she said. “All we're out here is to tackle such a system that’s been not only oppressive, it’s been depressive as a black American.”

Lott Hunte, who has a bachelor’s in English from Georgia State University, said she is currently working with another woman to help create hate crime legislation in Georgia.

She is also working to promote more extensive training in police departments.

“Some culture training is very necessary,” she said. “They need to understand how people express themselves in other cultures. Some are more expressive than others.”

For those who don't understand what it’s like living as a black woman in America, Lott Hunte said she describes the day-to-day feeling as “complete and utter helplessness.”

Oftentimes when she’s walking out in public, she said her defenses are up because she can’t predict how people will react when they see the color of her skin.

“I didn't choose to be black, but I would never change that,” she said. “I’m proud to be black.

Many times we’re judged before we open our mouth.”

Two years ago when working for a law firm in Gainesville, she said a representative from a prosecutor’s office referred to her as an “African spy” in an email that was seen by everyone in the court.

Lott Hunte said incidents like this one make her feel discouraged to speak up for herself. However, she has found her courage and voice.

“There’s many times I want to be like, ‘No forget it, I don’t want to try anymore,’” she said. “But someone has to say ‘no’ and ‘stop.’ We have to work forward to correct the behavior, no matter how much we want to give up.”