Calls for Change Continue in Waco as Demonstrators Demand Racial Justice
"We're gonna keep on talking. Keep on fighting. Marching down to freedom land."
Waco organizors continued to push for change over the weekend, gathering hundreds of Wacoans in the downtown Indian Spring Park ampitheater on Saturday for the Waco commUNITY Peaceful Rally.
The rally was the second demonstration held in Waco calling for racial justice and widespread reform following the death of George Floyd, which sparked protests across the country.
Hope Balfa-Mustakim, the Exective Director of the Waco Immigrants Alliance and one of the organizors of the event, claimed that while the rallies are a good sign of community enagement, the systemic and institutional changes that communities need will be accomplished behind the scenes.
"It's after this rally when you need to show up and show out. Comissioners Court meetings, City Counsel Meetings. Petitions. Donations. There's work to be done, and when we all shoulder it, it's lighter for everyone," she said.
Cuevas Peacock, the Assistant Director of Community Relations-Cultural Wealth at Baylor University and a local community organizor, has worked alongside Hope and others to create Change Waco, an alliance of black and brown led organizations in partnership with white allies working for racial justice in Waco and McLennan County.
According to Peacock, the primary function of Change Waco is to ensure that the community commits to continuing the fight for racial justice.
"This isn't just a criminal justice issue. This isn't just a health issue. This isn't just an economic issue, or an education issue. This is our issue. And in order for us to change this issue, and reverse it for our benefit and all people's benefit, it requires us to commit," he said.
A number of local politicians also spoke at the rally on Saturday, including Democratic Congressional candidate Rick Kennedy and Democratic Texas House candidate Katherine Turner-Pearson.
Both stressed the importance of voting in creating structural change, and encouraged demonstrators to register to vote at one of the many voter registration tents that were set up at the rally.
Later on, protestors marched toward the McLennan County Courthouse, taking a knee for a moment of silence on 5th Street to commemorate the life of George Floyd.
With KWBU News, I'm Sam Cedar.