KATY, Texas – Thousands of protesters showed up to a student-organized march in Katy Park on Thursday.
The event, in honor of George Floyd, was held by ‘Katy for Justice,’ a group started by three Katy Independent School District students.
Erika Alverez, 17, was one of the march organizers.
“It’s a way to speak out about systemic racism in America, to organize Katy under that common goal and to recognize the issues prevalent in our society,” Alverez said.
The Cinco Ranch High School junior said she and co-organizers, Jeffrey Jin and Foyin Dosunmu, have spent countless hours arranging the meet-up.
“We’re in a very polarized period of time, and we think it’s important that black voices are heard in every suburb, every community, every city, every state and every county,” Jeffrey Jin said. “I think that black voices need to be amplified at a time like this and I just want to show even the smallest amount of support as possible to the black community members in my area.”
According to Alvarez, they wanted to hold the demonstration at a park to limit the chance of violence or property damage.
Social distancing was also a top priority at Thursday’s event, Alvarez said.
“Coronavirus still exists, it’s a real thing,” Alvarez said. “Even though a lot of protesters maybe seem to have put it on the back-burner, we definitely won’t.”
Katy for Justice organizers initially anticipated around 200 attendees, but Alvarez said the number of people who confirmed on the group’s Facebook and Eventbrite pages surpassed 1,200.
Yoshika Lowe attended the march with her daughter, Anastasia.
“I’m a high school teacher in Cy-Fair, so I’m really excited to see this community stepping up like this as well, because a lot of times young people think if it’s not them, it doesn’t matter,” Yoshika Lowe said. “I’m glad to see that they’re awakening to the fact that it could be them.”
“I remember when I was in high school, trying to get awareness about these types of things was so difficult, and so seeing this generation step up so young, it’s really inspiring,” said Anastasia Lowe.
Following the march, a lineup of speakers addressed the crowd, calling for change within the judicial system as well as justice for George Floyd.