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In the breezy shade cast by the walls of the San Antonio Police Headquarters, 55 protesters gathered to listen to each other speak Friday afternoon.
Friday marked the 14th consecutive day of demonstrations following the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis. A newly-formed group called Reliable Revolutionaries organized the protest outside of SAPD’s headquarters.
“We are an umbrella,” said founder Jourdyn Parks, who wore a black T-shirt bearing the group’s name on the front and the nickname “Mama” on the back. “By bringing all these people to the same table we are able to maximize our voices, maximize our success, and encourage unity as well.”
Protesters came prepared with cases of water, iceboxes full of popsicles, and a bucket full of snacks. Someone brought a stencil of the raised fist often associated with the Black Power movement and spray-painted the logo on T-shirts and a skateboard. Later in the evening, the Krishna Temple brought donated vegan food for people to eat.
The crowd was much smaller than protests of previous days. The Reliable Revolutionaries planned Friday’s event after reaching out to other organizations and learning there wasn’t another protest scheduled downtown.
“I didn’t want a day to go by where they didn’t hear our voices,” Parks said.
One by one, people stood in front of the group and shared their story. One woman said she lost a new job because of how vocal she had been about the Black Lives Matter movement. Another said her friends had told her going to protests was wasting her time. And Billie Billington, a service member in the military, said when she was summoned by a superior, she feared that she would be reprimanded for being at local protests.
“I was expecting to get chewed out, expecting to get in trouble,” she said. “But [the major] said, ‘I’m so proud of you. You spoke very well and we’re all proud of you and support you.’ I will be out here whenever I can. And I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, because all these little babies you see, we’re out here for them.”
The babies she referenced were her three small children – 2-year-old Legacy, 3-year-old Legend, and 7-year-old Lyndin. Parks reminded the people gathered in front of her why they were there – because a black man was killed by a police officer.
“As a mother of beautiful black babies I can only imagine the pain when your child’s death is televised,” Parks said of Floyd’s death. “Can you imagine what would have happened if George Floyd’s death was not caught on camera? Some of you are only out here because you saw that, and it resonated.”
She urged people to continue to show up each day and pledged to continue protesting “because I will not stop until you stop killing us,” she said.
Shelby Bednar, who leads guided meditation at Travis Park each night, said he noticed how few people had shown up for Friday’s protest.
“We’re going back to our lives,” he said. “[But] our city needs us. … Just by standing here, walking with fellow community members, is all that needs to be said. So I hope y’all are reminded of that. I’m still coming out here. I don’t care how many or how few people show up. I’m here because it’s right.”
Four hours after the crowd first gathered, they started to disperse. Another demonstration – a queer/Black Lives Matter march, not organized by Reliable Revolutionaries – is scheduled for Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at the Bexar County Courthouse.