After amassing coolers of water for a long trek under a blazing early evening sun yesterday, a few hundred protesters left the Tarrant County Courthouse for a long march into the heart of Fort Worth’s North Side. As I raced to catch the crowd, I passed a county historic monument that protesters had wrapped in a shroud that read, “Monuments Made During Jim Crow Serve To Keep Racism Alive. This Exists To Erase Our Racist Past.”
The tenth day of protests, which began as a response to the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer, turned north and down a sun-beaten Main Street. The first vestige of shade offered a brief history lesson. As the protesters rested behind the former meeting hall of Fort Worth Klavern 101, a speaker gave a brief history lesson.
“There is something significant about where we are standing,” the male speaker said through a megaphone. “That brick building behind us, for decades, that was the meeting place of Fort Worth’s KKK, so marching in this area is significant. What we are doing is powerful for the city of Fort Worth.”
The march turned south on North University Drive. A Fort Worth police department drone became the target of jeers as the crowds reached North Henderson Street.
“We are going to hit downtown,” one organizer said through a megaphone. “When we get to the [county] jail, we will let the people know that we are there fighting for them. Y’all tired yet?”
“No!” the crowd responded after nearly two hours of marching in the sun.
After a rally at the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center, the marchers made one final push back to the Tarrant County Courthouse. Standing on the building’s steps, protest organizers announced their next move.
“We have three petitions coming out tomorrow,” one organizer said. “The first one has to do with the city council and police donating money to support mental health. We are trying to get them to help support a building. Instead of arresting [individuals with mental health disorders], we will have a facility for them to get help. The second petition that we have is to demilitarize the police. Again, there will be more details later. The third petition, and we have more coming, is to remove Fort Worth police from Fort Worth ISD and Crowley ISD” schools.
Much of the crowd, noticeably tired, then dispersed to snack and water stations or to head home as a DJ played hip-hop tracks.