The Black Lives Matter organization in San Marcos invited the community to march for unity and justice Sunday evening. The event brought together hundreds of people from San Marcos, Texas State and surrounding areas for a night of solidarity.
Texas State junior, Russell Boyd, organized the march along with 12 other Texas State students and alumni.
“This was motivated in response to the recent tragedies that have happened around the country, along with the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and in mourning of the five officers in Dallas,” Boyd said.
Many BLM allies in San Marcos contributed resources for the event. San Marcos Police Department volunteered their time to patrol the event while other members of the community donated water, food, sound equipment and vehicles. One city council member, four members of clergy, EMS and a criminal defense lawyer were among those in attendance.
The march began at Greater Bethel Baptist Church and continued to Hays County Courthouse where the organization’s leaders spoke on their personal experiences of marginalization, racially profiled encounters with police and what people can do to make a change.
Chelsea Jordan, Iowa State alumna, came to the event because she feels if change does happen, she wants to say she was a part of it.
“It is an issue, not just for black people, but everybody. We see the issues and we are ready for change,” Jones said. “Black lives matter too. We want everyone to know we aren’t just here as standby people. And that needs to be said.”
Of the many issues addressed, a standout concern among the organization was politics and getting the community out to the polls.
Associate Professor of History at Texas State, Dwight Watson, was one of the first speakers at the courthouse. Watson opened with thanking the SMPD for being kind and courteous, but didn’t shy away from what history has shown him.
“Every 20-30 years, we fight a fight on police brutality,” Watson said. “You all must get politically active. Elect people that will go to office and reflect things that are in your interest, not theirs.”
Boyd said that in order for the country to support the BLM movement, there needs to be conversations within the homes of “privileged” people.
“What can people do who possess privilege in order to ensure that people of color are receiving the same amount of justice and equality,” Boyd said. “It starts with an open and honest conversation. There needs to be a lot of reform and change within the political system as far as people who possess privilege and are not allies to the community. That comes from, really, a strong sense of voting among minority communities.”
Activist Skyller Walkes read aloud a poem in response to the murder of Castile and encouraged the community to put action behind their thoughts and prayers.
“I know that we are here to incite change,” Walkes said. “We are showing up at the table, but here’s the thing, we are showing up at the table, and we are equipped to have the discussion. We are no longer going to be pawns in a system that doesn’t recognize our humanity.”
In closing, the leaders read the proclamation given to them by Mayor Daniel Guerrero, establishing July 17 as Love and Light Day.
Currently, BLM in San Marcos is in the process of planning several initiatives to promote voting and making sure leaders are deputized to get people to register to vote.