Marble Falls Black Lives Matter demonstration aims for unity

Black Lives Matter demonstrations

As Black Lives Matter demonstrations happen around the world, like this one in Montreal, Marble Falls is preparing for one on June 13. The Marble Falls Police Department and organizers are working toward a peaceful, local event. Getty Image by Josie Desmarais

When recent posts on social media and the Nextdoor app announced a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Marble Falls, Monique Breaux knew the comments would not all be positive. She even prepared the young organizers for such a pushback.

But Breaux, who is speaking on behalf of the local organizers, said that’s part of the reason for holding the June 13 event.

“This is a local group of youthful people who have decided to host a peaceful protest in response to the different police brutality acts on African-Americans for many years,” she said about events going back well beyond the May 25 death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. His death spawned protests across the country and around the world. “I would like people to know when we say Black Lives Matter, it’s not about some lives being more important than others. This is an issue of equality and unity.”

That’s the heart of the June 13 demonstration, she added. It’s a chance for all people — no matter their race or background — to come together in an effort to raise up the oppressed.

Breaux and organizers are working alongside the Marble Falls Police Department to ensure the demonstration is peaceful and safe for everyone involved as well as the rest of the community. Marble Falls Police Capt. Trisha Ratliff and Assistant Chief Glenn Hanson have been in contact with the organizers — who are all under 21. Hanson pointed out the organizers are cooperating with the police department. Breaux, the city’s recreation coordinator, is working on the event outside of her job.

When the announcement of the event was posted online, rumors and misinformation immediately followed in the comments, some due to the violence seen at protests in other cities.

By all accounts, Hanson said, the intent of the event is to be a peaceful gathering.

Breaux said organizers wanted to work with the police to ensure that. She realizes that there is the possibility of agitators attending, but, with the assistance of the police department, she believes any trouble can be quelled.

“We don’t want this to seem like it’s us against them, black against white or us against blue,” Breaux said. “By reaching out to (the police department), we wanted them to know that we want your help, we want your support, we want to band together with you.”

The initial post stated the event would take place in the area of U.S. 281 and RR 1431, but Breaux said she, organizers, and the Marble Falls police are working together to find a safer spot to hold the protest. She acknowledged that the intersection has a greater exposure, but it would not be safe due to traffic.

Organizers and police are meeting Friday, June 5, to go over details and come up with a location and time. Once that’s determined, the event will be announced. 

Breaux said people can just show up and support the cause.

While the death of George Floyd has been a catalyst for current protests, the problem has been growing for 400 years since the first slaves were brought to America from Africa. The main organizers have heard stories from their parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents about the prejudice and injustice they faced as well as their efforts for equality and civil rights. And now those youth want to become part of the solution and a voice for the oppressed.

“We are not thugs, we are not criminals,” Breaux said. “We are doctors. We are inventors. We are leaders. We have helped build this country, first as slaves, and now as professionals, doctors. We’ve served in the military with honor. We’ve invented things and done so much for this country.”

Breaux added that, even today, racism and prejudice still thrive in the United States, and the only way to stamp it out is by people raising their voices against it.

“We are black and gifted and want your respect,” she said. “That’s what this protest is about.”

daniel@thepicayune.com

29 thoughts on “Marble Falls Black Lives Matter demonstration aims for unity

  1. I am not sure these ‘protests’ can accomplish what needs to be fixed. What I see as the root of all this is the hate too many people have for anyone besides their own race. Those hearts are so sick and many will not change.

  2. I am encouraged to see that this is happening in our community. I am white, I am listening, I am learning. Thank you for the important work you are doing.

  3. Thank you for a very nice article giving this event some coverage! I hope it will a peaceful sign of unity in opposition to racism and oppression.

  4. I admire the way you are handling this by working with the police and being sure that it is a peaceful demonstration. All lives matter whatever the color or station in life. Thank you!

  5. Are they going to protest the young man who was murdered by the police in Burnet? The fact that people are willing to protest, but not for a man from their own county who was murdered by a cop says a lot about the racial division.

    1. James – I don’t know anything about the young man who was murdered, but the protest is being organized by Black Lives Matter, so it makes sense they’d protest over the very publicized killings of black men and women in the news lately. Though the underlying issue they are protesting is probably related to what you are talking about: Police Brutality.

      If you are that upset about them not protesting over the murder of the young man, you can always organize a protest regarding the murder as well.

      I’m not black, but I understand where they are coming from. I don’t know if the young man you are referring to was white, Mexican, or Asian (I’m assuming not black based on your question). But I do know that when there is a video of a cop putting his knee on a man until he dies, and a story about a black EMT woman being killed in bed by cops, and more, almost every month, I understand their outrage. As a former Marine, if Marines were doing this to innocent people, we’d be held to the highest standards of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, yet cops are not held to the same standard.

      Also, I apologize if this seems like I am attacking you, I am not. I just wanted to provide my view (from an older white guy) on how I perceive and can understand their frustration.

  6. BLM co founder Alicia Garza tweeted yesterday ,”Trump has given a green light to cops and militias to beat, maim and kill people with impunity. He has now illegally activated the military to maintain power and use force on civilians. The red line has been crossed too many times. Trump must resign. Our lives depend on it.” And from BLM co founder Patrisse Cullors: she says the answer does not lie in holding the police accountable with better training and body cameras. Instead she demands defunding law enforcement so that black and brown people can be free from what she calls a “well funded army” that occupies them. She also formed the Justice -LA COVID 19 response, a coalition demanding that LA County relieve overcrowding in jails. The sheriff’s department lowered the jail population from 17K to less than 12K. My question is, why BLM? Are there not better organizations to be the contact point who are not part of the radical left? And can you guarantee that our city and businesses will be safe from outside agitators? Think long and hard about this BLM march.

    1. My question to you then is who do you think are the better organizations to be the contact point, especially when no other organization around here is organizing a protest/march? Just because they are the same organization doesn’t mean they are going to protest here. For every looter and person causing chaos that you see online, there are hundreds that are protesting peacefully.

      Also, I’ve seen multiple videos of men and women of every color being tear-gassed, hit with batons, or shot at by rubber bullets (which are around 4 inches long and 2 inches wide) by bad cops. Are we to say that because of those bad cops, all cops are bad?

      The way they are organizing the protest is the best way to do it. They could have just met this past weekend and caused chaos and possible disruption to traffic and/or merchants. Instead, they are working side-by-side with the police to maximize their voices while also minimizing problems.

      No one can guarantee our city and business will be safe from outside agitators – that’s what they do. What we can all do though, you, me, anyone, is to show the neighbors we care, and we are here for them. If we know who our neighbors are, if we are friendly to everyone, then if outside agitators show up, we’ll know.

      It doesn’t matter if I’m conservative, you’re liberal, and the neighbor across the street is libertarian. We all breathe the same air and live in the best state in the world.

      1. Marty, I agree with some of the things you have mentioned such as being a good and caring neighbor, being kind, friendly, supporting our local businesses and helping those who need a hand up. And I have seen peaceful protesters but I have seen those marches co opted by the rioters who are looting, burning and physically attacking business owners who just want to protect their livelihoods. When you look at Marble Falls you see churches attended by blacks, Hispanics and whites. Why can’t all these churches get together in the park for an evening of meeting new people, fellowship and having music and words from pastors and faith leaders? Change will only happen when hearts are changed. It goes for all sides. Have seen videos of meetings like that in Virginia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. No finger pointing and demands from one side to the other. Also, online you can find “A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom and Justice.” Long list of demands that include 1) Defunding of Police Department. In fact, today LA County cut 150 million dollars from the police department and 250 million from other departments to give to the black community. So it starts. 2) Reparations. Reparations in the form of a guaranteed minimum income livable for all black people. 3) Cut in military expenditures and reallocation of those funds to invest in community. 4) A progressive restructuring of the tax codes local, state, and federal level to ensure a radical and sustainable redistribution of wealth. I also find it ironic that the organizers of BLM march are seeking help from the same police department that they want to defund. And if you want respect from the community you need to earn it not because you are a certain color but because of the “content of your character.” Dr. Ben Carson (former pediatric surgeon, a black man and Secretary of HUD) said, “We, the American people, are not each others enemies. The enemies are those people behind the curtain jerking everybody’s chains and trying to divide us up by age, by race, by income.” So before you march know what you are representing.

        1. Karen where are you getting your information from? Facebook, twitter? I found this on Forbes

          Some politicians are listening: the Los Angeles Police Department was set to receive a large increase in its annual budget from $1.189 billion last year to $1.86 billion (most of the budget increases were for new police bonuses) for 2020-2021 before Garcetti axed that move Wednesday, cutting $100-$150 million — only after activists rallied outside of his home.

          Despite using the “defund police phrase,” most activists don’t want to reduce appropriations to police departments to zero dollars, which is impractical. Instead, supporters of the movement hope to reduce the responsibilities we ask of police and redirect funds to other social programs. “For hundreds of years, black communities have lived under state terror — be it police or vigilante violence,” Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, told the Hollywood Reporter. “An abolitionist believes in a world where police and prisons are no longer weaponized as a tool for public safety.”

  7. I could not be more supportive of this initiative. It warms my heart to know that our town will stand up and peacefully, with dignity and strength, walk together and let our voices be heard. May we lift our eyes to the heavens for countenance, may our lips speak purpose and truth and our hearts lead in love. Change begins with the first step.

  8. This is an insult to our Marble Falls Police Department. It lumps them and all other police officers in with a very small minority of bad cops. There is no need for a BLM or any other anti police protest in our community. What wrong has been perpetrated upon these protesters by our officers? What do they find to protest here? We have as fine a department as I have ever been around in my 66 years and I guarantee not one of the protesters has been even slightly offended by any member of our police department.

    1. Steve, please re-read the article. This event is not protesting an injustice in Marble Falls.

      The Marble Falls Police Department is FANTASTIC, and the organizers know that and are working closely with MFPD to ensure a peaceful and safe event. Please know, the MFPD condemns police brutality and racial oppression. I am a huge supporter of the MFPD (many tens of thousands of $ donated) and I am 100% positive that my presence at this event will not be construed as an attack on our great police force.

      I would encourage you to come out and show your support for this worthy cause. We are all brothers and sisters and neighbors with the same red blood coursing in our veins.

      1. Nonsense. This is a BLM event. Their whole premise is based upon the lie that police disproportionately shoot/attack blacks. The truth is that twice as many whites are killed by white police officers than blacks. This BLM event is a slap in the face of all police and especially ours here at home. What are they protesting? Are they going to specifically condemn the Minneapolis department for having a thug on the force? Or will they simply complain that Police in general are racists pigs who hate blacks. If you side with BLM, you side against the Marble Falls Police Department. There is no middle road.

        1. Steve, you are entitled to your opinions, but you are not entitled to misrepresent the facts about BLM, nor to speak for them. I encourage all people to read for themselves the words of the organization:
          https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/
          and
          https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/
          are two good starting points.

          If you support and vote for Candidate ABC, does that mean you agree 100% with everything she has said and done? Of course not.

          I encourage you to attend the event and speak with your neighbors and show them your love and support.

  9. This is an insult to our Marble Falls Police Department. It lumps them and all other police officers in with a very small minority of bad cops. There is no need for a BLM or any other anti police protest in our community. What wrong has been perpetrated upon these protesters by our officers? What do they find to protest here? We have as fine a department as I have ever been around in my 66 years and I guarantee not one of the protesters has been even slightly offended by any member of our police department. A national BLM leader just announced a “war on police”; and we’re going to let them demonstrate here in our town?

    1. Nope. This event was the idea of 3 Marble Falls high school students, who are working WITH the Marble Falls police department (and local churches) to plan an event in support of equality and unity of all people in our community. My husband was a lawyer for police departments in Houston and San Antonio for many years and will be participating in this to support all of those-including good cops-who want to promote and embrace equality and justice in our community. If you are a good person, you are welcome to join. If you prefer to spew hate, just stay home please!

  10. “Organizers-who are all under 21”
    Everyone please read up on Youth Movements of the 20th Century. See how Youth was used to further causes that led to the downfall of good governments and death for so many people. This will lead to no good for anyone.

  11. If Alica Garza and Patrice Cullors actually said what is quoted above then they are not the peaceful people they pretend to be. My fear is that the negative rhetoric that will be on their signs will result in more hatred and violence and we don’t need that aggrevation in our city.

    1. I quoted word for word what Alicia Garza said on Twitter. Patrice Cullors info came from her page. Their big deal right now is to defund police departments and Hollywood celebrities are supporting that cause. I would hate for Marble Falls to be used as social justice experiment by BLM and friends. There are protests in Austin. Go there and join them.

  12. History will repeat itself, as we all have experienced. Let us all realize that. What I believe AMERICA needs to come to realize is that racism is a bad real issue, the word history comes from many meanings; History as in what our past sibling’s have experienced and History as what is happening in the real world through many years as we are living, including as kids growing up. While growing up, hearing your older sibling’s racist remarks of their times when they grew up way back in their earlier years and them hearing racist remarks from their earlier sibling’s and that carries over to those same racist remarks being said TODAY. Furthermore, I believe that across AMERICA we as citizens are abide to follow the law and in some states they follow the 3 strikes you’re out rule, therefore, I propose that every law enforcing authority figure across the country enforcing the law should have those same rules as well; 3 STRIKES, YOU’RE OUT, (and if that 1 strike has anything to do with racism, YOUR DAYS AS A LAW ENFORCING FIGURE IS OVER, (no matter how great of a law enforcer they are) there should NEVER be an employee still employed after 18 complaints and 2 reprimands still employed in such position, AMERICA, it’s time for REAL change. Get this infectious disease out of the system.

  13. What a strong message and resolve from our local youth! To respond to other comments, police brutality is itself an important conversation to have, but it should not be used to attempt to dismiss the experiences of Black people experiencing systemic racism. Statistics should also not be misused. Yes, more White people are killed by police, but when that number is looked at in relation to population percentage, black men are almost three times more likely to be killed, and they are more likely to be unarmed when killed. Systemic racism is a complex topic that takes time, effort, and hard work to understand and address. Here are some recommended *starting* resources https://www.google.com/amp/s/nymag.com/strategist/amp/article/anti-racist-reading-list.html Community members have a rare opportunity with this protest to listen to voices that are all too often not heard within our community and wider world. Take that opportunity to learn and grow.

  14. ALL lives matter , no matter what race or color. Again, I repeat ALL lives matter. God bless ALL, including President Trump!!!!

  15. How many of the Protestors/Demonstrators are local residents???

    I am VERY opposed to shipping protestors into our safe town. I cannot speak for people of color in MF or anywhere as I’m not labeled that way. But let me tell you, we are blessed with the best people anywhere and many of them are people of color (BLACK?). When New Orleans flooded, we got a faith community of wonderful, hard-working, productive new residents to our area. Thank you Smoking for Jesus folk! AND, we are blessed to have St. Frederick and their leaders. They are an integral part of our MF family. They do so much like Habitat, Meals on Wheels, Thanksgiving Turkey meals and on and on. I will respect the privacy of our area “Black” leaders and not mention their names. I hope we can all say a big thank you for your contributions to everyone of them as we encounter them at a City Council meeting, a restaurant, or the people who service our Garage Doors, Air Conditioners, Autos, and on. . . . .
    YES! EVERY life matters. Sadly, I will submit our “Black” neighbors have been and ARE discriminated against. So there IS a legitimate to raise the issue again in hopes of reducing age-old and continuing discrimination. If you are Caucasion, Have you ever been through extra scrutiny/charges when applying for a mortage? an auto loan? A dwelling (apartment or house)? May this movement help all of us to offer extra support and agape to ALL our MF neighbors, especially those labled, “people of color” or “Black”.

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