‘For Us, By Us:’ Organizer Says Black-Led Protest Can Empower Change

Reese Herd II co-organized a rally of thousands last weekend because he hadn’t seen “enough of black Austin, out speaking on black Austin issues.”

By Kristen CabreraJune 11, 2020 12:03 pm,

A group of black community activists led a march from Huston-Tillotson University to the Austin Capitol on Sunday. Thousands of people turned out for the peaceful protest.

“This was an idea on a Tuesday, we sat down on a Friday to iron out the details, and Sunday you had thousands on top of thousands on top of thousands,” said one of the organizers, Reese Herd II, who spoke with Texas Standard host David Brown on Thursday.

Herd is cofounder of the nonprofit Dream Out Loud Experience. His fellow activists, all from the Austin area, wanted to focus on elevating black voices in the community. They tagged the event on their flyer: “For us, by us.”

“We just felt like we didn’t see enough of black Austin out speaking on black Austin issues,” Herd said. “In the black community, on issues like this, we don’t always tend to come out to let our voices be heard.”

Herd set out to make change within his city, but said he also felt empowered by the protests he was seeing across the country in response to police brutality and systemic racism.

“We’re gonna try to make a real change to where, hopefully, we can be a blueprint for the rest of the country on ways that they can bring in the black community and improve the black community.”

A few of the activists plan to meet with Austin Mayor Steve Adler to discuss changes to policing and more in Austin. Herd said they hope to establish a plan for those changes, as well as funding.

Web story by Sarah Gabrielli.

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