TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - As the sun set over Tyler, a group numbering over 100 people gathered on the square downtown for a peaceful protest.
Amori Mitchell, a Tyler resident and a participant in downtowns peaceful protest says, Saturday night’s event had a great impact on her and her family.
“We have more people, more exposure and even to come out here at night, because sometimes for us being black people we don’t feel safe coming out here at night because that’s when most of the shootings happen. We’re racially profiled by police officers, pulled over, as we leave here, we don’t know if we’re going to get pulled over or not. Just to come together as a community, it had a great impact on me and my family as well," she said. “Black lives matter; all lives matter is what they always counteract with, but in order for black lives to matter we have to come out and do this, we just can’t matter. If we don’t come together in unity and let our voices be heard as well as our faces shown, nobody will know that our lives really do matter and why we’re here.”
Tyler Mayor Martin Heines was present to “listen and absorb” what the individuals had to say. There was no police presence evident on the square.
Isley Jackson, a 13-year-old boy who gathered with his family, says he enjoyed participating in this peaceful protest.
“I was happy because I love to see people protesting for the black community, like what have we done to you that makes you want to hurt us?” he said. "I don’t want anything like this to happen to my family; that’s why I’m going to stay on high alert…I just want to make sure that everyone is okay.”
The group was made up of a majority of young people, though there were older protesters accompanying them. Many were carrying signs saying #Icantbreathe and Justice For George among other expressions of frustration over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. Protesters chanted “I can’t breathe” as well as “Justice for George Floyd” as they marched around the square.
Claire Shultz, Tyler resident, says it’s important to her to fight against police brutality.
“I hear everyday just the people, the racist people, who constantly hate on people of color for absolutely no reason when they haven’t done anything to us. There’s no reason for us as a separate race as them to have anything against them. I feel that it is so important to fight against police brutality towards African Americans, and nothing’s going to happen if we don’t all join in,” she said.
“It’s so important to me because I feel that the people that are in office or the people of power aren’t doing anything, so it’s up to us as civilians. It’s up to all of the citizens to come together and voice our opinions and make a change, because it’s obvious that the man who is in office is not helping us. It does not matter our skin tone, we all have to come together and make our voices heard, and this has to change. This has to stop,” Shultz said.