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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

‘It is our time to speak’: San Marcos community protests in honor of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor

Justyn+Payne+delivers+a+speech+during+a+protest+for+George+Floyd+and+Breonna+Taylor%2C+Friday%2C+May+29%2C+2020%2C+at+the+Hays+County+Historic+Courthouse+in+San+Marcos.+%28Jaden+Edison%29

Justyn Payne delivers a speech during a protest for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Friday, May 29, 2020, at the Hays County Historic Courthouse in San Marcos. (Jaden Edison)

Elder Justyn Payne stood in front of a silent crowd gathered to protest at the Hays County Historic Courthouse, relaying a powerful message to a fed-up community devastated by the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. 
“[Floyd and Taylor] wanted to breathe; they wanted to live. And they can’t talk anymore. It’s our turn to speak out,” Payne said.
The May 29 protest, originally an idea by Texas State student Diereck Montes, came days after a video surfaced of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin placing his knee on Floyd’s neck until he was unconscious; Floyd later died at a hospital. Taylor was shot and killed March 13 at her home in Louisville after police entered her home for a narcotics investigation.
The San Marcos community—student activists, families, city officials and church leaders—arrived with signs and messages advocating for black lives—and against police brutality and white privilege. The protest began with several speakers expressing their frustrations, including Payne and Montes.
The reason why I organized this is because it [felt] close to home,” Montes said. “George Floyd was not only a citizen but an activist from my neighborhood in [Houston] and attended Jack Yates High School. I just felt like, for my integrity and [sanity], this is something that I needed to do.”
Montes said, as an Afro-Latino, he realizes Floyd and Taylor could have been him. He said he felt it was his duty to be a part of change and take part in something impactful for the community.
“[Black people] have to [set an example for] other people,” Montes said. “What I see is us uniting [the community] even more—us continuing [to fight] together.”
After the speeches concluded, the group began marching toward San Marcos City Hall. Along the way, the march captured the attention of people in passing cars, honking and yelling in support. Tyreonta Norman, one of the Texas State students who led the protest and march, said her and others taking action had everything to do with the disproportionate targeting of black people by police. 
This has been an issue going on for years and years, way before we even saw it on television,” Norman said. “It’s really, really terrible that this is happening to people’s brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles…[police violence] doesn’t discriminate [in the black community]. The only thing that matters is that you’re black.”
Ariel and Amber Corral, two sisters that took part in the protest, said witnessing people rally in support of black people made them personally feel like their voices are being heard. 
“It really gives us a [feeling] of unity, [seeing] everybody out here that actually [care] and are actually being allies to [black people],” they said. “[Seeing] those who are walking in the protest and [people showing support in cars passing by] is moving.” 
After returning to the courthouse, the community gathered to hear closing remarks, Texas State student Tiera Johnson singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and a collective prayer. 
Montes said as long as black people are on the receiving end of injustice, the community will not stop speaking out and fighting for the justice and treatment they seek.
“I’m very proud that people actually came out and supported,” Montes said. “[I’m proud] that everyone kept their demeanor and their heads focused on the goals that we have.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Justyn Payne’s first name. It has since been corrected; we deeply apologize for this error. Further, we changed distinctions of “African American” in the story to “black”. 

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  • (Left to right) Diereck Montes, Ayo Ade and Micah Traylor bow their heads in prayer, Friday, May 29, 2020, at the Hays County Historic Courthouse. The three led a protest for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. (Jaden Edison)

  • Garry Coles stands and listens to a speech given by the organizers of a protest for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Friday, May 29, 2020, at the Hays County Historic Courthouse in San Marcos.

  • India Sherman leads a chant in a protest held for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Friday, May 29, 2020, in San Marcos. Floyd was an African American man that died after an incident in Minnesota in which a police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck until he was unconscious. Taylor, an African American woman, was shot and killed by police in Kentucky after they entered her home for a narcotics investigation.

  • Protesters march in honor of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, with signs, Friday, May 29, 2020, in San Marcos.

  • Protesters stand near a cross walk on East Hopkins Street with signs, Friday, May 29, 2020, in San Marcos. The group marched from the Hays County Historic Courthouse in honor of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

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  • A protester holds up a “Hate-Free Zone” poster at a gathering in honor of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Friday, May 29, 2020, at the Hays County Historic Courthouse in San Marcos.

  • Tay Norman gives a speech at a protest held in honor of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Friday, May 29, 2020, at the Hays County Historic Courthouse in San Marcos.

  • Protesters stand in solidarity with their signs, Friday, May 29, 2020, at a protest for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, at the Hays County Historic Courthouse in San Marcos.

  • Student protesters pose for a photo together, Friday, May 29, 2020, at a protest for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, at the Hays County Historic Courthouse in San Marcos.

  • Student protesters hold up signs toward incoming traffic, Friday, May 29, 2020, on East Hopkins Street in San Marcos. The San Marcos community held a protest in honor of and for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

  • Student protesters hold signs as they cross East Hopkins Street, Friday, May 29, 2020, in San Marcos. The San Marcos community held a protest in honor of and for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

  • Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra gives a speech at a protest held for and in honor of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Friday, May 29, 2020, at the Hays County Historic Courthouse in San Marcos.

  • Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra listens to a speech at a protest held for and in honor of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Friday, May 29, 2020, at the Hays County Historic Courthouse in San Marcos. A lawsuit has been filed against Becerra, requesting his removal from office. The lawsuit claims Becerra took at least $50,000 from taxpayers between 2019 and 2020.

  • Protesters throughout the San Marcos community hold signs advocating for black lives and justice, Friday, May 29, 2020, at the Hays County Historic Courthouse in San Marcos. The protest, organized by students, was held in honor of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

  • Anna Sweeney holds a sign that says “I Can’t Breathe – George Floyd”, Friday, May 29, 2020, at the Hays County Historic Courthouse in San Marcos. The poster is a reminder of George Floyd’s words as a police officer held his knee to Floyd’s neck.

  • A protester hold up a “Black Lives Matter’ sign as Justyn Payne gives a speech at a protest held in honor of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Friday, May 29, 2020, at the Hays County Historic Courthouse in San Marcos.

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  • Gilbert Alvarez displays a “thumbs up” gesture as protesters walk past, Friday, May 29, 2020, near the Hays County Historic Courthouse, in San Marcos. The San Marcos community held a protest in honor of and for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

  • People in a car show support to those taking part in the protest for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Friday, May 29, 2020, near the Hays County Historic Courthouse in San Marcos.

  • Hannah Durance sits in silence as people protesting in honor of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor walk past, Friday, May 29, 2020, on East Hopkins Street in San Marcos.

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