First Meridian Black Lives Matter protest ends peacefully

Despite an interruption from some hecklers and insults exchanged between both sides, the first Black Lives Matter Meridian, Texas protest

By Arthur DeVitalis

Willie, of Clifton, proudly displays his sign with another message on the other side.

The first protest in Meridian, Texas recorded in recent history occurred Wednesday, July 1. Black Lives Matter protesters stood on the bridge leading into town on State Highway 22 and held signs bearing their individual messages on behalf of the movement.

What happened

The protest started at 2 o’clock. The group included roughly a dozen protestors, mostly White or Hispanic and a few Black people came out to express their support for the Black Lives Matter.

The application process for their permit required two weeks notice. It was eventually approved and scheduled for Wednesday, July 1, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Meridian Police Chief Will Stevens said that the group complied and applied for a permit for a gathering of over 50 people, giving the city two weeks’ prior notice. Some claimed that they had received death threats over the event’s organization.

We spoke to protesters on the bridge, and here’s what some they had to say:

Willie:

In this county, a lot of people were against us doing this. And this day, the big day, it actually came to it. A local officer came to us and said there are a lot of people have changed their minds about us doing this.” -Willie Sedberry.

He said that he and the protest organizer, Yeyi, intend to talk to Meridian City Council about a Juneteenth Celebration in the future, with a bounce house, slip and slide, a basketball tourney and other activities planned for June 19 next year.

Yeyi and he thanked law enforcement present and making sure threats were not fulfilled.

Kaylee:

As someone who is in the minority in this small town, even though trans brutality is not that common, it’s still something that can affect me at any given point. I just wanted to raise awareness because in this community it’s very old-school and old-fashioned. I wanted to make sure that they knew that trans people do exist in this town,” -Kaylee, on why she joined the protest.

“If they don’t understand this, they’re not going to understand what it’s like to be transgender and not be born into a body that you’re happy with. On top of that, be Black in a place where the police are supported greatly,” she continued.

She said that most of the people in Meridian that Kaylee encounters on a daily basis have no idea of this, and don’t fathom it.

If you move to this town as a Black person, amidst people who don’t know what it means to be Black in America, including black people…it’s really hard for you to have your issues taken seriously.” -Kaylee

Yeyi:

I’m from Meridian, Texas. I’ve lived here my whole life. I’m a person of this community. I’m not bringing a random person here. -Yeyi, who organized the protest.

The protest continued for a good three hours. With an hour left, the group moved from the bridge to the Bosque County Courthouse square. Before departing, Stevens met with the organizer. We witnessed both parties expressing a desire to keep the peace and honor the first amendment without destruction. The two had talked previously in the application process, which some said shouldn’t take two weeks.

It’s important to me because a lot of people say that racism didn’t exist back then. There wasn’t a platform that existed like social media, for people to talk about these injustices that are going on.” – Yeyi, talking on the point of the protest. “This a good cause to defend, [being] the Black Lives Matter movement. I’m also holding signs for the kids in cages at the border who don’t have basic health care needs met.”

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