Thousands of protestors joined local leaders and activists in downtown Houston on Tuesday as part of ongoing demonstrations against police brutality.
Sporting masks and doing their best to socially distance in a jam-packed park outside City Hall, the sea of protesters chanted one name: “George Floyd,” the 46-year-old Houston native who died in Minneapolis after an officer knelt on his neck for several minutes during an arrest.
The peaceful protesters marched from Discovery Green to City Hall, where hundreds more trickled in to hear from Floyd’s family members and local elected officials.
“It’s bigger than my brother,” said Floyd’s brother, Terrence, urging protestors to remain peaceful. “We’re trying to break the cycle right now, we got this.”
An estimated 60,000 people showed up, many carrying signs with pictures of Floyd, demands for justice, and the names of other victims of police brutality like Sandra Bland.
When the crowd ballooned in size after the march, the scheduled program — which heard from speakers like Mayor Sylvester Turner and activist rapper Bun B — took on a life of its own as protesters on the edge of the crowd started their own chants and mingled with each other. Some brought pizza, speakers, and ice-cold coolers to distribute water to fight the afternoon heat. At one point, a woman fainted and was carried to safety by nearby protestors to cheers.
Lawmakers who attended, including Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green promised legislative action for police accountability.
“It is time for a revolution of change for the dignity of all of us, no matter what our color,” Lee told the crowd, promising to introduce legislation this week to hold police accountable.
“I am angry,” Green said. “I’m angry because four men are involved in taking the life of a dear brother and only one man has been arrested.”
Laila Geers, one young woman at the rally told the Signal she attended because she wanted to support Floyd’s family and had to recently explain to her eight-year-old sister why the protests were happening.
“I had to explain to her that because of her skin color, people are discriminating against us,” Geers said.
The large demonstration was just as diverse as Houston. Signs reading “Latinos for Black lives” were frequent and protesters of varying backgrounds carried flags from different countries.
Ronnie Daniel, a protester who led a small crowd in chanting “unity” said he feared that one of his children or family members could be the next victim of police brutality.
“We’ve been quiet for too damn long,” he told the Signal. “Now we’ve got to use our voice in whatever platform we can and use it and unify together — that’s the only way we’re going to win.”
Photo: Fernando Ramirez/Texas Signal
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org