High school students in Katy hosting protest to stand with Black Lives Matter

KATY, Texas -- An event to stand with the Black Lives Matter movement was held at Katy Park at 24927 Morton Road on Thursday.

Rising Katy ISD seniors Erika Alvarez of Cinco Ranch High School as well as Foyin Dosunmu and Jeffrey Jin, both of Seven Lakes High School, organized the Katy for Black Lives Matter Protest.

They said their intentions for the event is to show their support and empathy for the social movement, which works to end violence and injustice as well as provide healing and freedom to black people, according to its website.

Black Lives Matter Houston is not hosting the event but is in full support of the local protest, Alvarez and Jin said. They added local law enforcement will provide security during the event, and they have about 25 volunteers to help with setting up and cleaning up.

Katy Council Member Janet Corte posted on Facebook that the Harris County Constable's Office is overseeing the security with the support of Texas Department of Public Safety, Harris County Sheriff's Office and Katy Police Department.

Community Impact Newspaper was unable to reach the Katy police chief to confirm Wednesday evening, however the department did end up posting a statement on its Facebook page.

"The Katy Police Department will be on location with other local law enforcement agencies to ensure the integrity of the protest," the post reads. "Additional patrol coverage will be maintained throughout the city as a measure to provide public safety to Katy's residents and business owners."


The Harris County Constable's Precinct 5 office said it will have deputies near the event.

"We're here to exercise our First Amendment rights on freedom of speech, freedom of peaceful assembly," Jin said. "We don't intend on exercising violence and using that as a means of getting our statement across."

Following social distance guidelines is a priority for the protest, too, Alvarez and Jin said. They are accepting in-kind donations such as masks and sanitizer to help protect attendees from the coronavirus.

"(Following social distancing guidelines is) a big reason why we moved to Katy Park from Mary Jo Peckham Park," Alvarez said. "It's way bigger, way more open."

The event's activities will include a march and about a dozen of student and adult speakers, including Dosunmu, they said.

"Houston is such a diverse city, and Katy is a part of that," Jin said. "I'm sure that the black community in Katy is also grieving and experiencing a lot of pain right now, and we wanted to extend our empathy in that way through a protest and through an event that would remember George Floyd.

Floyd died May 25 in Minneapolis while in police custody. Floyd was handcuffed and lying face-down on the street. Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Floyd became unresponsive and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Three other police officers were involved in Floyd's arrest. Floyd was accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill at a market. The four officers were fired a day after the death. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

"I think one of the first steps toward moving forward is making sure that everyone understands that African Americans are not protesting because they want to (or) because they think it's fun," Alvarez said. "There is a system that actively works against them every day. ... And if everyone doesn't understand that, then there's no way to move ahead."

For more on this story, visit our partners at Community Impact.

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