Without justice, there can be no peace.
That’s what scores of people chanted Wednesday evening as they gathered at Central Park, marched to the Sebastopol House and back Wednesday evening in Seguin. The march was in support of African Americans’ rights and sparked by the killing of George Floyd on Memorial Day in Minneapolis.
“We are here to fight for human rights,” said Isaiah Yesuf, the Seguin resident who coordinated the protest. “We are here to fight for equality. We are fed up.”
Floyd is the 46-year-old man seen on viral video handcuffed faced down on a Minneapolis street in police custody. That video seen across the globe, shows a Minneapolis police officer, later identified as Derek Chauvin, kneeling for several minutes with his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck.
Floyd died moments later still in police custody.
The death and video have helped lead to protests worldwide. Some protests in many major U.S. cities turned violent and included looting and destruction of property.
Seguin’s protest remained peaceful as the crowd at Central Park swelled from about 5 p.m. until about 200 protesters struck out down Court Street with a police escort to the historic Sebastopol House.
They carried signs bearing slogans such as: “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention,” “We will not be silent,” “Enough is enough,” and “I understand that I will never understand. I stand.”
As they gathered and during their march, they chanted call-and-response slogans.
Those included things like “No justice, no peace,” “All lives can’t matter until black lives matter,” and “Say his name! George Floyd!”
The protest here remained peaceful. To ensure it stayed that way, organizers spoke up to calm them whenever anyone became a little too boisterous, or seemed a bit too confrontational.
They felt eyes were on them and people were waiting to point fingers and say the protests are only about looting and violence, said Darrian Wilson, another organizer.
In a grander scale, everyone protesting mistreatment of their fellow citizens are and will continue to be on the right side of history, because what’s happening “isn’t a moment. This is a movement,” said Taylor McAdory, one of the protesters.
“I’m done being silent,” she said. “It’s not okay. My skin color is not a threat.”
Seguin Police Chief Terry Nichols addressed the crowd before the group began its march. He said he and his department “absolutely condemn” what happened to Floyd in Minnesota.
Generally, law enforcement officers wait before speaking out against acts of perceived misconduct by fellow officers, but he couldn’t conscionably do so in this case, Nichols said.
“This is one of those cases that’s unequivocal,” he said. “It’s wrong.”
As the crowd of nearly 200 walked along Court Street, it was met with encouragement. Motorists held up in traffic due to the march or driving by on the other side of the street honked their horns in solidarity.
Some were heard chanting along with marchers, “Black lives matter.”
As the group stopped and chanted more in front of the Sebastopol, Amanda Cerna came out of the Pic-N-Pac where she works and started a video call with her children. She proudly showed them what was taking place in her town.
“This is awesome,” Cerna said, adding that she wished she had known about it ahead of time so she could’ve joined protesters. “My kids are African American and I worry about them every day. I’m so glad this is happening in Seguin.”