Voices of Protest: Messages from demonstrators in Austin

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — People gathered to demonstrate all weekend long in Austin, protesting both the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Michael Ramos in Austin. While the official protest on Sunday, organized by Austin Justice Coalition was canceled due to concerns over safety, thousands of people still showed up to demonstrate, some of whom had also been out demonstrating on other days this weekend.

‘We’re tired of the injustice’

Eric Jones lives in Austin and came to the protest “to stand in solidarity with the rest of the United States, to push for police reform, criminal justice reform and justice for all of the victims of police brutality.”

Jones was present at the protest during the daytime Sunday and said he has been pleased with how peaceful its been.

Jones hopes that those who see videos of the protests in Austin take away, “the fact that as a people we’re tired, we’re tired of the injustice, we’re tired of the brutality, we’re tired of our voices not being heard.”

“And I hope that just as quick as they came up with a plan to flatten the curve with COVID, they come up with a plan because they come up with a plan to bring about real, authentic reform so that people’s lives aren’t taken without due process,” he added.

‘I feel like young people should make a stand’

David Bradberry, Jazz Collins and David Cook are from the Austin area and attended Sunday’s protests. They had also been to the demonstrations in Austin the day before.

Bradberry noted that Sunday’s demonstrations in Austin were relatively peaceful and that the crowds have “done a really good job” of keeping each other in check.

On Sunday afternoon, he told KXAN, “there hasn’t been too much friction between the police officers, we actually had some good dialogue with some of the officers.”

“So I just feel like today versus yesterday, it’s been night and day, night and day comparison,” he said.

Cook noted that there have been people of “all ages and walks of life” at the protests in Austin.

“When people get together and they all speak up, somebody is bound to hear what they have to say eventually, whether we have to be out here a couple of days, weeks, I’m sure we’re going to get enough people out here to make ourselves seen and make ourselves heard,” he said.

Collins believes its especially important for young people who live alone to show up to demonstrate to represent those who might be immunocompromised or otherwise unable to gather in groups due to risk of COVID-19.

“It’s just important to show your voice, to show your face especially [for] those that can’t be here right now because they have other people that rely on them because of the virus,” she said. “I feel like young people should make a stand and show everybody that, yes, we can make a change.”

‘A bittersweet feeling’

Robert Ginyard of Austin said he helped to organize the official demonstration Sunday along with Austin Justice Coalition.

He said he got involved because he wanted “justice for people that have been harmed and real, substantive change that will bring an end to unjust police brutality.”

But, ultimately, he and the organizers decided it wouldn’t be safe to host the initial event as they had planned.

Ginyard showed up to the demonstration on Sunday to explain to people there why the official event had been canceled.

“I understand people are really passionate about this in the first place, so I don’t blame them for being upset at me, but I do want people to realize we are all on the same page and we all want the same thing, we just didn’t want anyone to be harmed,” he said.

Looking around at the hundreds of people who showed up to demonstrate Sunday, he said he was encouraged to see so many people show up to offer support even though the event he planned had been canceled.

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