#LoveWins: My first experience at a protest

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King Jr. Last Saturday, I decided not to remain silent. I attended a peaceful protest against social injustice, and it was a rewarding experience.

AT&T Insider

Friday, June 5, 2020

By Keysha Bradley
Staff Writer

When groups started protesting in Dallas over the death of George Floyd on May 29, my sister Kim, a resident of San Antonio, Texas, asked if I was at the protest. My answer was simple. “No. I didn’t want to be a part of the chaos.”

That Saturday I left for San Antonio to go celebrate my mom’s birthday. When I arrived, my mom let me know that my sister Kim and my nephew were at the protest. I still didn’t want to join in, and seeing how things unfolded later that night, I thought I was right to avoid the area.   

But as days went by, I started to see more peaceful protests across the U.S. and the world. In my mind I thought, “These are the types of protests I want to be a part of.”

Then came my opportunity to join the peaceful protests. The owner of Texas Elite Spartans, a women’s professional football team, invited me to join a peaceful protest in Allen, Texas.  I thought, “Allen, Texas – this is the city where I live! I have to do this.”

That morning I painted the sign I would carry. I joined my fellow protestors at the park. Our route took us to Allen City Hall. The police were there to escort us the entire way. They blocked off streets when necessary, and one officer even walked with us. It was a great moment to walk in solidarity and to hear people honking in celebration and see them waving and cheering us on.

And then there was a moment that highlighted why we were marching. A white man in a white truck dismissed us and shook his head. We kept marching and chanting.

When we arrived at our destination, we did something very powerful. We laid on the sidewalk for 8-minutes and 46-seconds to honor George Floyd. It was hot. We fought off bugs. But our commitment was stronger than the elements. It was an emotional moment.

As we headed back to the park, a white woman drove by, gave us the middle finger and said, “$#%^ you”. We kept marching and chanting.  A little further down the road, this same lady had stopped her truck in a drugstore parking lot and approached our group. She said, “They’ve already been arrested [referring to the officers in Minneapolis] .”

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The owner of the Texas Elite Spartans approached the woman to have a conversation about what’s been going on, but it was clear the woman didn’t want to listen. To calm the situation, the police asked the woman to get in her truck and leave. She did, but she also gave us the middle finger again.

This moment emphasized why we were marching. Why we’re talking. And why we need to keep having these conversations.

When we got back to the park, everyone gathered in a circle, held hands and we prayed. And several Allen police officers joined the prayer with us.

It was a great day and a very peaceful protest. Although we had 2 disheartening moments, we collectively made 1 big statement … we’re all in this together, and we need each other.  #LoveWins

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