Back-to-back protests: Texas State students and Athletics speak up for Black lives

Protestors+stand+out+in+front+of+the+Hays+County+Historic+Courthouse+with+signs+and+fists+up%2C+in+solidarity.

Jaden Edison

Protesters at an event primarily organized by Texas State student Malina Sutton pose for a photo in front of the Hays County Historic Courthouse, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, in San Marcos.

The San Marcos community held two protests June 10, one organized by Texas State students and the other by the university’s Athletic Department, advocating for Black lives lost at the hands of police.

The first, put together by Malina Sutton and Kyla Finchum, took place at the Hays County Historic Courthouse, a location in which several other protests have been held in recent days. The group gathered for community dialogue about the injustices Black people face and how the privileged should be using their voices to speak out.

“We [all] need to educate ourselves on what happened to [the black lives lost],” said Sutton, a mixed woman. “No matter what color [a person is], we need to start speaking up and using our [voices].”

Darien Holley, a gay Black man, spoke about the importance of making sure ‘Black Lives Matter’ means ‘All Black Lives Matter’, including those in the LGBTQIA+ community.

“If you’re going to [take] the stance [of Black Lives Matter], you have to stand in it,” Holley said. “It can’t just be one or the other.”

The protest took an emotional turn for some when Sutton, in tears, began shouting the names of Black lives lost in recent years—from Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown to George Floyd—and the group repeated the names back to her.

“I think it was really beautiful to see the way everybody came together to show support for the Black community,” Holley said. “I think [Sutton and Finchum] organizing the whole thing, just two Black girls that wanted their voices to be heard…I think that it’s amazing what they’ve done, what they were able to accomplish.”

Bobcat football players, coaches, administration, along with Texas State, San Marcos and Hays County police participated in March for Unity, advocating for solidarity within the community.

Led by senior linebacker Gavin Graham, the march began at the J.C Kellam Building and ended at Bobcat Stadium. Graham and local police officers spoke against recent events of police brutality.

“The unfortunate reality of our society is that when Black people wake up each morning and get ready for their day, they walk out each day with a target on their back simply because of the color of their skin,” Graham said. “For generations and generations, we have called outcries of help, pleading for those who don’t look like us to hear us and understand all we want is equality.”

Texas State Police Chief Laurie Espinoza Clouse also spoke and praised the football team for allowing UPD and other police departments to be a part of the event.

“These are really difficult conversations,” Clouse said. “I can’t tell [you] how good I feel about the fact [the football team] reached out to us, and I [can] tell that [you] my heart is full of gratitude. I want you to know UPD stands in unity with each and every person here.”

After the speeches, players and coaches were encouraged to participate in conversations with UPD, SMPD, and the Hays County Sheriff’s Department.


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