A group of demonstrators gathered outside the Hays County Historic Courthouse Sept. 5 to march to Texas State’s University Police Department and protest racism affecting the Black community.
The protest was led and organized by Diereck Montes, a business management junior and member of Hip Hop Congress, who also organized a protest in late May. Montes says that with the general election coming up in November, now is an important time to continue demonstrating.
“I feel like it’s very important that we start to put action toward the things that we want changed now and basically set an example,” Montes said. “Give our future representatives … whoever they might be, [a chance] to hear our problems, and see how they can solve them and what they are going to do for us as well.”
Soon after arriving at the courthouse, the group of about 15 demonstrators marched to the UPD chanting and carrying signs. The demonstrators were met with support from people passing by in vehicles honking and raising their fists, a common occurrence during many of the protests that took place this summer. A handful of people stopped what they were doing to join.
Preston Mba, a wildlife and biology junior, attended the march because he felt it was important to show support and push for change.
“We can change,” Mba said. “We can go out and vote and change the system. We can have better law enforcement. They’re the ones who are said to protect us and to protect everyone, so when you are afraid of the people who protect you, it’s not cool.”
When the demonstrators arrived at UPD, an officer inside locked the doors. The protesters continued to chant outside the building, at one point calling UPD’s non-emergency phone number to ask someone to go outside to speak to them, but UPD sent no one. Montes delivered a speech while the crowd waited.
“We’re students, and they chose to lock the doors on us,” Montes said. “We came to speak. No weapons on us, just students chanting ‘Black lives matter.’ As soon as they hear that, ‘let’s lock the doors.’”
UPD was not available for comment in this story.
After waiting for around 15 minutes, the demonstrators began moving back toward the courthouse. At one point, a car stopped green light traffic to allow the demonstrators to cross the street.
By the time they reached the courthouse, the group had grown to about 20. Before the group dispersed, Montes thanked everyone who attended and had a message for the people who did not.
“I know some may have work, and that’s fine,” Montes said. “But I’m a college student just like everybody else. I have a job, I’m always busy, but you make time for the things you want to make time for. And if this is not one of your priorities, you need to get your priorities straight.”
Breana Miller, a psychology senior and president of Texas State’s Black Art Association, says she has been attending protests for years and hopes to see more people come out.
“You know [when] there’s a group of us, no matter how big or small, it’s seen as a threat,” Miller said. “I mean I was here my freshman year when the sit-in happened … with the May 1 incident. So you know, this is nothing new to me. I think the main thing is I’m excited that this is not going to be the only one. This is going to be something that is reoccurring, and I hope that more people join and really are invested in the change that they want to see at Texas State.”