The police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the resulting unrest in cities across the nation is on the minds of many here in Terrell, where anguish and outrage has largely been expressed peacefully.
A Peace Walk is planned for Saturday, June 6 beginning at Breezy Hill Park. The walk begins at 5:45 p.m. In a statement, the city of Terrell said: “The city was sent information regarding a privately sponsored Peace Walk planned for Saturday. The City of Terrell has the utmost respect for both individual freedom of speech and the need for public safety. We are working in a cooperative spirit to achieve both goals for this event.”
On Sunday, Pastor Peter McNabb of First United Methodist Church and Ethel Livingston, vice president of the MLK Celebration of Terrell, will host an online program called “What Troubles You? A Dialogue” based on Psalm 23:5 on Facebook Live. Interested participants should go to the First United Methodist Church of Terrell’s Facebook page. The program starts at 10:50 a.m.
On May 31, Serenity Corner in Terrell hosted a prayer service that drew a diverse gathering of about two dozen people, several of whom voiced their thoughts about Floyd’s death, racial injustice in America and how to nourish real and lasting change.
City Councilwoman Mayrani Velasquez, one of the attendees, noted that she was raised in Terrell and regards it as home. “For a very long time I have felt an inequity here. I’m pushing for all the city of Terrell to be inclusive – to have equity in all sectors of Terrell,” Velasquez said.
“What we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks … it just breaks my heart. We need to do better. We need to do more, and as someone just mentioned, the start begins with us. That’s why it’s so important for us to step up to the plate and say, as he said earlier, enough is enough.”
Rev. Peter McNabb of First United Methodist Church in Terrell called for white people to open their eyes and become “woke” to systemic racial injustice.
“We shouldn’t have wake up to it because of the violence. We should wake up to it because of the injustice,” he said. “We have a responsibility – a responsibility to make right what’s been wrong. That means seeing our brothers and sisters of all colors and seeing them with a heart, seeing them with understanding, seeing them and listening to their story.”
He added: “We need to have a woke moment where we see each other as brothers and sisters. There’s lot more work to be done.”
Bishop Earl Mingo Jr. of Shiloh Baptist Church said people of God must lead the way in creating a more just society. Racism is stubborn and dark. “We have to be the light in the middle of a dark room,” he said. “If you have a roomful of darkness and you put one speck of light in it, it is going to show up.”
When it comes to doing the right thing, “We have to be the light,” Mingo said.
Tracy White, who organized the gathering, said change must come from within.
“Everybody’s waiting on the world to change. I have to change. … The heart of man is where this (racial injustice) comes from. It’s not about our skin; it’s about our hearts.”
A number of other prominent Terrell citizens, past and current, who were not at the gathering also addressed the death of George Floyd.
The Christian Chronicle reported that Ervin Seamster Jr., president of Southwestern Christian College in Terrell, asked for energy in a time when many feel weak and exasperated. “Some of us feel like we’ve run out of words to express our disdain for this moral sickness that we are facing as a country,” said Seamster, mentioning previous racially charged cases including the 2018 shooting death of Botham Jean, a member of the Dallas West Church of Christ. “We are literally sick to our souls. … Lift us up out of our indifference.”
Upnews.com reported that Terrell native Jamie Foxx attended a social justice rally outside the Minneapolis City Hall. Later at a press conference, Foxx said constant police brutality against people of color "complicates everything” that black parents teach their children about "how to function in life."
Protesters want to know why someone like George Floyd was pinned to the ground with a knee on his neck for an alleged forgery when police can arrest without incident someone like Dylann Roof. In 2015, Roof, a white supremacist, killed nine members of a historically black church.
“I am not a celebrity. I am from Terrell, Texas. These are my brothers. This means everything, because at the end of the day, when we see them (protesters) on the front line, we want to inform them that they have support," Foxx continued. "God bless George and his family.”