SAN ANTONIO – People of all ages and races marched around the Bexar County Courthouse on Monday in hopes of sending a powerful message through a peaceful demonstration.
“I think it’s disgusting for anybody to break into anywhere and steal anything. I hate it. What I also hate is oppression and a systemic racism that’s going on in this country for over 400 years,” said Valerie Reiffert, a protester.
The demonstration was an emotional outcry for change triggered by the death of George Floyd, who was killed one week ago by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin who was seen on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck until he lost consciousness. Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
“Not only do we want to see the police give us 100%, but we want to see the follow through. I shouldn’t go to court to defend my son (who was killed) and be treated like a criminal,” shouted a protester.
Before the march ended, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar empathized with the protesters.
“Black lives do matter,” Salazar said in front of the group.
During the exchange, Salazar told demonstrators about anti-racism protocols in effect to ensure fairness in his office and spoke about efforts to ensure his deputies are ethnically diverse. Salazar and several deputies then joined the march.
For some of the protesters, it was enough to inspire hope and maybe even an example for other cities to follow.
“Seeing those people and seeing this camaraderie really does give me hope, because then these people will go talk to other people and that’s how it will hopefully spread and fix itself, hopefully,” Reiffert said.
Protesters said they will continue to march periodically until the issues are resolved.