More than 50 people showed up for a peaceful gathering in front of the Waxahachie courthouse Thursday afternoon in unity against racism.
Community member Betty Coleman started the meeting with a few words. "We’re calling this today, ‘Community change day’," Coleman stated. "What we’re leaning towards is solidarity in the community. And we’re gonna continue to have these until they are no longer necessary, and I don’t see that happening anytime in the real immediate future."
Coleman then passed the microphone to Jacob McDaniel, who read a poem to the group, reiterating the words, "Why do you hate me?"
"We have to fight for the change that we want," Coleman continued. As she said the words, "No justice," the crowd replied with "No peace."
Then, Rickey Shorter, one of the scheduled speakers, took the mic. "I was born in the early ‘60s. The movement had pretty much just started. Dr. King had just passed away. Growing up in the ‘70s, you were taught to not start trouble," Shorter shared. "I never thought that I would live to see the day where I would have to explain to my 7-year-old grandson, when he watched the video [of George Floyd] the other day, of how a person could get treated like an animal and beg for his life."
Shorter said he did not want to tell his grandson the reasoning behind Floyd’s murder.
"Fear brings on hate, cause when you fear something you want to hate on it," Shorter said. "But I’m telling you now, you don’t have to hate on me because I’m black. I can truly say I see color, but color don’t matter. All lives matter but right now, black lives matter. You are not getting killed because of the color of your skin."
Another community member, Rashad Mahdi, read the monologue of George Floyd’s last words, which was eight minutes and 46 seconds. He asked each member of the group to lay down, with their hands on their back for the time being.
The floor was then opened up for community members to share with the group.
Kelly Blackburn quickly informed the group on voting and how to register for the elections coming up.
Valerie Lane, a Waxahachie resident and principal in Keller ISD shared her heart with the group. "Why is this important to me? Because I see kids everyday. It’s about educating not just the kids that I serve, as well as the community that I serve. Black lives are on fire," Lane exclaimed. "All lives matter, yes they do, but we’re the ones that are on fire, and we need to make sure that we stand up. This is not a black and white issue, this is a right and wrong issue."
Lane then challenged the crowd to speak to family and friends on the current issues of racism occurring, even if they do not agree.
The Waxahachie Police Department was present, some listening as the meeting was held. Assistant Chief Dale Sigler was seen participating in the chants and speaking with attendees.
The gathering ended with a short protest around the courthouse, as people held their signs up.
Waxahachie resident Alan Fox shared his reason for attending the protest. "Because it’s time. I grew up in the civil rights era, and it’s like what was fought for many years ago seems to be forgotten," said Fox. " It’s time to make the dream come true once and for all."
Additionally, Carolyn Robinson says that George Floyd’s murder pushed her to attend. "Well I don’t like what happened with George Floyd. It wasn’t right. So I don’t want, when I get old, one of my nieces or nephews to ask me ‘Aunty what did you do when it happened?’," Robinson said. "I wanna know that I did go out and protest, that I didn’t just stay home."
Robinson is hoping this protest will bring a step toward equality for the black community.