Hundreds Gather in Waco to Speak Out Against Police Brutality
"No justice, no peace. Black lives matter. My life matters."
Chants echoed down the Brazos River on Sunday as hundreds of Wacoans gathered at the suspension bridge in response to the recent murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, among others.
Various speakers peacefully echoed calls from across the nation to bring an end to police brutality in black communities, and hold government officials accountable for systemic and institutionalized violence in communities of color.
Many reflected on Waco's troubling history of state sanctioned violence, including the 1916 lynching of Jesse Washington, who was hung, beaten, and burned at Waco City Hall in front of over 10,000 spectators, including city officials and police officers.
Deviar Woodson, one of the organizors of the event on Sunday, said that he was proud of the community's response.
"I'm so glad that the city of Waco came out here, and that it was all people of different ages and different colors, different sizes - everybody came out to support it. And we were able to keep it peaceful, and keep it nice and respectful. And just come out and support, you know, the movement. And how we want change not only in our city, but in our country," said Woodson.
Following the event, protestors marched throughout downtown Waco, many holding signs reading "Black Lives Matter" and "I Can't Breathe."
Though potential threats of violence were reported to organizors and several in attendence carried firearms, the organizors ensured that the event remain peaceful.
Woodson stated that while the gathering was a step in the right direction for Waco, he hopes that it will serve as a catalyst for greater change in the community.
"We are pushing this group called Change Waco on Facebook. You can find it on facebook, and there's an Instagram and website too. But that's where we're gonna be posting updates about where we're going next. We do need to push for change in Waco. It's not stopping here, it needs to go past this. And our country needs change. So Change Waco is going to be the start of it."
With KWBU News, I'm Sam Cedar.