BIG BEND — A demonstration has been organized in Alpine for Big Bend residents “in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement to support and uplift our local black community,” the event page reads. Demonstrators will gather at the Civic Center at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and march to the Brewster County Courthouse, where there will be speakers and resources.
Across the United States this week, protests, demonstrations and vigils have sprung up in hundreds of cities. Ignited by the death of George Floyd, the events are protesting police brutality and the deaths of unarmed black Americans.
“I am an African American student at Sul Ross, my family on my dad’s side lives in Minnesota and they are participating in some protests down there,” said Sedia Woods, one of the speakers scheduled for the demonstration.
She is helping organize the event and will lead the march before speaking at the demonstration. Woods said, “I feel that for a very long time, people of color have been underappreciated and we have just suffered way too much.”
Woods is grateful to be in a small town like Alpine right now, away from “the chaos” of larger cities, like her hometown of Houston. “This town cares about people no matter what race you are,” one reason she believes that the event Saturday will be “100 percent peaceful.”
The use of the courthouse lawn was approved by Brewster County Sheriff Ronnie Dodson, and the march will be escorted by Alpine Police Department, which is providing ice chests and water, according to an event organizer.
At the courthouse, “We will have donation boxes for cities that need bail money, we will have petitions and contacts for people to call and let their voices be heard,” according to Woods. “This is about starting a conversation first and foremost and also about spreading love.”
Organizers have asked attendees to wear a mask and comfortable shoes, practice social distancing and wear shirts that are purple or that send a message.
“Yes, George Floyd was the beginning of what’s happening now, but we need to remember these riots, these protests have been happening for a very long time. This isn’t the first black person killed by the police in America,” Woods said. “There are way too many names, so when we march and we say, ‘Say our names,’ it’s not just George Floyd: it’s every single person that’s been oppressed.”