One Man Peaceful Protest: Standing for Justice, Peace, Equality & Respect for All People
As millions of people voiced their outrage over the death of George Floyd by marching and protesting, one man spoke volumes by standing still. Kevin Bonecutter, husband, father of two, church usher and Hamilton County Probation Officer, stood up for justice, peace, equality and respect for all people by standing and fasting for 48 hours.
“It seems like the [Holy] Spirit just moved me; He came to me and I said, ‘This is something I need to do,’ and I really couldn’t sit back,” said the St. Martin of Tours parishioner.
Bonecutter attended one of the rallies outside the Hamilton County Courthouse to listen to the concerns of the crowd. He found the movement powerful.
“I think with both of us working in criminal justice we’ve experienced what it’s like working with a population that doesn’t get treated right,” said his wife, Jaime. “With him being down there with the demonstrators, with the protesters, I think he was moved to do something more and do something personal.”
Wearing a t-shirt that read “Teach Peace” and armed with signs about peace, justice, equality and respect for all people, Bonecutter set up his one-man peaceful demonstration in Westwood at 6 p.m. on June 5. He stood under the shade of three big trees and waved at people driving by on Montana Avenue.
“Honestly I didn’t know how the African-American community would view it, a white, bald man standing out here on the street corner, to be honest with you,” he said as people of all races honked in support.
A woman originally from Senegal stopped by with her two daughters. “Being next to Kevin and Jaime was the best thing I have done so far since coming to America,” said Bineta Diop. She was so touched by his effort, she returned at the end of his fast with food and drinks.
Five hours in, his shoes were off and he stood alone in the dark.
“Still feeling great,” he said as he faced his first long night. “I’ve had a lot of positive response and a lot of great people have stopped by and given me the thumbs up, which I really appreciate. That means a lot. Physically, the knees are barking at me, but that’s okay.”
As the sun came up, more people visited and some joined him at the curb. They brought him a cup of coffee, Gatorade, a mat on which to stand, a canopy and walking sticks, but it was their presence that really reinvigorated him and pushed him toward his goal.
“I just had to come up and wish him well. He’s a very courageous person,” said Father George Jacquemin, pastor of St. Clare Parish in College Hill, where Bonecutter’s parents are members. “One person can do a great deal.”
A group from St. Clare’s Peace and Justice Commission spent a few hours with him to help reinforce his message.
“We tried to raise him and his sister with a commitment to justice, to care for creation, for peace in any small ways and big ways we can do it,” said Bonecutter’s mother, Monica.
“I have a deep respect for Kevin. He’s certainly a man of faith,” said St. Martin pastor, Father Terry Hamilton.
At 6 p.m. on June 7, the demonstration ended with food, drinks and a chair for Bonecutter. Father Hamilton said a prayer asking God to bless Kevin as he continues to touch people’s lives.