Couple Gets Engaged as San Francisco Protesters Pack Golden Gate Bridge

While thousands of protests packed San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge to protest police brutality and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd, a Bay Area couple got engaged. The protests Saturday shut down the one side of the bridge and was peaceful. Many wore masks during the protest to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In the middle of the peaceful demonstrations, Quinlin Messenger got down on one knee to ask his girlfriend, Carrie Montgomery, to marry him. "I decided to do it the night before and it was my guiding light to go out there and face some of my fears," Messenger told KRON4. He said he originally planned to propose during a trip to Japan, but the trip was canceled because of the pandemic.

Montgomery had no idea Messenger planned to propose Saturday. "It was just awesome to feel everyone happy and the energy….it was just really meaningful," she said. Messenger later explained he missed out on going to protests earlier in the week because he "had a lot of fear as a black man." On Saturday though, he decided it was important for the two to go together.

During the Golden Gate Bridge protest, authorities used trucks to keep cars from going through a toll plaza to allow protesters safely onto the bridge, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The northbound lanes were shut down throughout the event as protesters walked across with signs. Many were wearing masks, and one woman was handing out masks for those who did not. For many, it was their first protest, including 26-year-old Tarryn Warn, who told the Chronicle people "care more about this than a pandemic" and called racism a "sickness."

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Messenger and Montgomery are not the first to have their own major life moment in the middle of a serious protest against systemic racism. On Saturday, Philadelphia couple Dr. Kerry-Anne Perkins and Michael Gordon got married during a protest there. While some on social media thought the moment brought some love to the events, others criticized the couple for taking attention away from the reasons behind the protests.

Floyd's death on May 25 has inspired protests across the country and continued into a second weekend. Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody after he was accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill. Four officers were fired, including Derek Chauvin, who kept his knee on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes, killing Floyd. Chauvin was also charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter.