The 1,000-mile journey: Taking the steps to change

Garrett Short
Created: July 08, 2020 06:41 PM

(ABC 6 News) - As part of his 1,000-mile walk to peacefully protest racial injustice, Terry Willis was in Rochester Wednesday as he nears the end of his march.

Willis began his trek in Alabama on June 2, and has put quite the wear and tear on his legs. He says it's worth it if it helps spark change.

"I'm hurting physically. I'm hurting mentally. But there's always bad that comes with good and this is just the physical pain that I have to go through," Willis said.

Despite the great lengths he is going to, Willis doesn't see himself as an activist.

"I'm a human. My name is Terry Willis. That's it. I'm not an activist. I'm just Terry Willis. As one man, one person, decided I needed to do something. So I thought of the most extreme thing to do, which was walk 1,000 miles to the exact location where he died," Willis said.

The journey has been hard, but rewarding. Visiting different cities and meeting new people has helped him keep moving.

"The love and support that I'm getting from all different races shows me that we can live in a world together and look at each other the same. That's what the whole walk is about. At the end of the walk I just want us to be treated equal."

The walk is something that has changed his life forever. He hopes to leave his mark on the people he meets, just as those people leave their mark on him. Willis has even gotten multiple tattoos to commemorate his journey and remember the people that have helped him and supported him during his own protest.

"Going through foster care growing up, I never experienced that love. So just to get it from complete strangers for walking, it's phenomenal. It's humbled me. It's just changed my whole perspective on people and just life in itself," Willis said.

Willis considers himself an average guy. He hopes his walk can encourage people to do what they believe in, no matter how daunting it seems.

"Just so you know that I'm a normal human just like you, I just decided to walk. You also can decide to do something to make a difference."

Willis expects to arrive in Minneapolis at the site of George Floyd's death on Saturday.

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