San Antonio Protesters Sing 'Happy Birthday' To Breonna Taylor, Kneel For George Floyd | Texas Public Radio

San Antonio Protesters Sing 'Happy Birthday' To Breonna Taylor, Kneel For George Floyd

A few dozen people protested near the Pearl on Friday afternoon. They spoke out against police brutality against black people, and they called out the silence of some white people. 

Alyssa, who organized the event and declined to share her last name, said she chose the area so its well-to-do residents and clientele would hear and feel the protests.  

“These people can ignore everything,” she said. “They can ignore what's happening. They can ignore the message. They can ignore us protesting. They can stay out of downtown.”

Alyssa said she also has issues with an investor’s donations to president Donald Trump’s campaign, and considers the Pearl area a hub of gentrification. 

Elizabeth Fauerso is the chief marketing officer with the Pearl.

“There's a lot of complicated issues related to gentrification. And that's one of the things that we are committed to listening to,” she said. “The entire community of Pearl, though, is run by independent small business owners. So, there's a lot of diversity in the business community.”

Faureso said protesters are welcome at the Pearl. A couple purchased drinks at Local Coffee.

But the protest group was not allowed to protest in the central complex, which was guarded by private security. Regular uniformed SAPD directed traffic along the route, and only a few officers with zip ties and batons were visible. 

Instead Pearl staff set up an area just outside of the main business and living complex for the group, which marched from there down Broadway, East Jones, Camden, Newell and Avenue A. 

Alyssa spoke about negative interactions with San Antonio Police officers and Bexar County Sheriffs. She said she wants law enforcement to be less reactive and more empathetic.

“I would like to see things handled more peacefully — with care and love, rather than it being game,” she said. “We're not chess pieces. We’re human beings.”  

At the end of the protest, the group knelt in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the amount of time Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kelt on George Floyd’s neck. 

Meanwhile, just south of the Pearl, hundreds of demonstrators walked from the Bexar County Courthouse to Travis Park and ended up at the Public Safety Headquarters. That five hour protest ended with the group singing and dancing to Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror," after hearing about a dozen demonstrators share their stories and words of support.

They also sang "Happy Birthday" to Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March.

Volunteers supplied cases of water and snacks, and Krishna Temple provided a multi-gallon vat of rice to feed attendees after hours of protesting. The group began to leave around 7:30 p.m.

Dominic Anthony Walsh can be reached at Dominic@TPR.org and on Twitter at @_DominicAnthony.

Kathleen Creedon can be reached at kathleen@tpr.org or on Twitter at @Kath_Creedon.

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