SAN ANTONIO – Hundreds of protesters gathered and marched on Monday afternoon in honor of George Floyd and the fight against racism in our country.
KSAT asked some of the community member why they participated in Monday’s protest and what it means to them.
Why are you here today?
“I think it is important that we are here and that we show that not only is the black community here to support, but the community of San Antonio is here to support,” said Lexi Qaiyyim, with Young Ambitious Activists.
“I want to see the enthusiasm and energy and effort that the people are putting into this protest. I want to see it come to concrete change,” said Matthew Alonzo, a middle school history teacher.
“There is still injustice. We are still fighting the same fights our ancestors were fighting. The same fights people were fighting in the '70s and '60s and generations before. We got to be the face and voice, and until this systemic racism is solved, we are going to keep fighting," said Trevor Taylor, with Young Ambitious Activists.
“Everybody here has been doing an amazing job in setting a standard on how to make your voice heard and doing it in a way that respects all people, so I wanted to be a part of that. I want to support that, and that is why I am here," said Officer Doug Green, with the San Antonio Police Department.
What does change mean to you?
“True equality. We don’t have that, and that’s what we are here for," Qaiyyim said.
“To rebuild that trust with the police department. It should not be the union that is protecting officers from the city leadership and the people. It should be the union is protecting good cops from bad cops because it is making their job harder. And if we don't work to rebuild the trust between the San Antonio Police Department and the people, then nothing is going to change," Alonzo said. "I want to see them engage with the people. The police, in a very real sense, are not engaging. They are literally keeping their distance from the conversation, and nothing is going to change until we stop that.”
“We want to see change, but not just in police, which is already a deep-rooted issue on its own. We want to see the system changed. We are seeing the system working perfectly fine the way it is because it is built this way," Taylor said. "You can't say liberty and justice for all and then say some people don’t matter. We want a system built for all races and all backgrounds.”
“First of all, change starts with one on one conversations,” Greene said. “Before there is any policy reform, there needs to be heart reform.”
If you had a word that could describe the purpose behind the peaceful protests we’ve seen in the city and across the nation, what would it be?
“'Love,'” Qaiyyim said.
“'Progression,'” said Taylor. “The history that we do have, we started off steps behind, so every time we have a protest, it is just another progressive step in the right direction away from our past but into what should be right now our future.”
“If I had a hyphenated word, it would be people are 'fed-up,'” Alonzo said.
“Thinking of San Antonio and how big of a family we are, it would have to be 'class act,'” Greene said.
When the history books in the future reflect what has been going on and how the fight against racism and police brutality is an ongoing battle until change happens, what message would you have your children and grandchildren take away from the purpose of what you did on this day?
“Don’t ever stop fighting because once we stop, then we are going to get complacent, and this is going to start all over again,” Qaiyyim said.
“You have a voice. You need to be heard. You need to be seen. Your presence needs to be felt, and there is power in numbers,” Taylor said.
“Hear people first before you see them,” Greene said. “Don’t judge them by their skin color or their status in life or by how much money they have. Look at a person’s heart.”
“If there is something in your community that matters to you, you can change if you show up,” Alonzo said. “Show up to those city council meetings. Show up to those budget meetings. Making your voice heard matters, but ultimately it is hard work.”