Crowds Gathered on June 3 to Demand Justice and Action
Two back-to-back peaceful protests occurred Wednesday afternoon in Downtown Plano. Both events were coordinated with an intent to show support for the black community, and to allow protestors to express anger and sadness over racial injustices in the wake of the death of George Floyd while in custody of Minneapolis Police.
The first event, organized by Our Revolution Texas, started at 4 p.m. in Haggard Park. The crowd marched to the front steps of the Plano Municipal Court, where speakers took turns at the microphone to express their feelings about police brutality against black citizens.
An unidentified young woman urged all residents, regardless of color to voice their support for the black community. “Living in Frisco and living in Plano, we all listen to rap music. We love black culture, but whenever it comes to speak out for them, we remain silent… You have privilege. Use it. All lives do not matter until black lives matter.”
“You have to go out and vote. That doesn’t [only] mean voting in presidential elections; that also means voting in local elections. At the end of the day, the people who create the policy that impacts all of us are local officials,” said a man who identified himself as David.
The second rally began at 6 p.m. and was organized by a group of local business owners who united earlier this spring under the initiative EveryoneEatz to help feed those in need and provide free face masks and COVID-19 tests during the pandemic. Again protestors met at Haggard Park, marched down 15th Street, then circled around the courthouse to return to the park.
Ram Mehta, event co-organizer and owner of Plano’s In-Fretta Pizza, said, “After serving over 78,000 free meals in the last eight weeks through EveryoneEatz, I felt we should have a peaceful march because not every cop is bad, but we want our message heard.”
A young black woman stepped up to the bandstand in the park and shared her story. “I, Jaida Walcott, was 19 years old when six cops made me get face down on my own front lawn because I looked like someone they were looking for. Six white cops and six black guns all pointed at me ready to shoot.”
She echoed many of the afternoon’s speakers by urging people to get out and vote, and to use their power and platforms to make the voices of black citizens be heard.
“This fight is not black against white, but the world against all oppression and racists,” she said.
Two previous events were also held in Plano for this cause. On May 31 local activist Cheryl Jackson organized a small impromptu rally, with a subsequent larger one planned for June 7 at 3 p.m. at Plano Municipal Center. On June 2 a group of approximately 1,000 protestors marched down streets in the Preston Road and Parker Road area.
Plano police have had a peaceful presence at these events so far, even handing out bottled water and making sure streets are shut down safely for the crowd. Plano Police Chief Ed Drain has also attended the Plano events.
In a video released this week by City of Plano, Chief Drain explained policies and training procedures that he said help keep Plano police accountable and able to treat all citizens equally.
“The men and women of the Plano police department, we also feel that same sadness and we feel that same anger because Mr. Floyd’s death was a tragedy that did not have to happen,” he said.
Gallery from first protest:
Gallery from second protest: