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.”