Dr. Jay Theis, a Kingwood resident organized a silent protest. He did so in this very Red Republican suburb of Houston, Kingwood Texas, likely to illustrate that the George Floyd murder-by-cop touched people everywhere.
“I felt I had to do something,” Theis replied when asked why he organized the silent protest. “I think part of it is movements develop a critical mass to make them become big. We saw that with the Occupy movement. We see that with this movement and fundamental change can happen because of that.”
Dr. Jay Theis explains reasons for George Floyd’s silent protest in Kingwood
Theis then continued.
“I’ve always tried to do things so after Freddie Gray in Baltimore happened, I started doing some panels on race at schools to try and raise awareness,” Theis said. “I think also at the time my understanding of the problem has grown. I’ve been listening to the stories of black Americans. And what they deal with which I will never deal with. And never even considered. And those things sort of make you think, I got to do something.”
The silent protest did not disappoint. Several dozen people attended this quickly put together event. It garnered people of just about every ethnicity and race. Reflecting the area it was likely 80% white or so. That’s very pleasing because it is a trend of awareness that has started to come to this community that far too long has been myopic about America let alone racial issues.
What was most impressive was both the depth of understanding of most and those who just knew something was wrong.
Residents speak at George Floyd’s silent protest in Kingwood TX
The attendees who were willing to speak were all impactful in many forms. Listen to all their comments in the video above. Two women had statements that stuck with me.
The first woman in the video channeled Angela Davis.
“I just wanted to put my money where my mouth was,” Angie Artzer Truitt said. “And back up what Angela Davis has said about it. ‘It is not enough to be quietly non-racist.’ Right now we have to be vocally anti-racist. We have to speak up loud for the people who’ve been trying and yelling and praying for help for hundreds of years and still haven’t gotten it. So we need to, as white brothers and sisters; we need to be out here supporting our black community and telling them we are here. We are speaking up. And we are there for them.”
The second woman was driving doing her errands in Kingwood. She came upon the silent protest and said she got excited that the people in her community made her “Proud of Kingwood.” She stopped and borrowed posters to hold up.
“I am outraged that as a country we have still not solved the problem,” the woman said. “We are still seeing black Americans treated differently, brown Americans treated differently. And it is something that some of us in white suburban areas just don’t experience. And we need to stand up and stand with our friends of color.”
In explaining why he was there, one of the attendees brought up the word privilege, a word some with it shy from. I asked him to expand on it.
Before the silent protest started, Dr. Theis laid out the code of conduct. It was simple, disregard hecklers. He reminded the protesters that silence at the right time is a potent weapon. His pastor led a prayer and then off to the positions.
At the end of the silent protest Dr. Theis thanked the protesters. He used it as an opportunity to collect organizational contacts. Most were eager to organize and/or stay in the loop.
The protest was covered by the local NBC affiliate KPRC Click2Houston. They were there for the duration.
Altogether, George Floyd’s silent protest was very successful. It is clear that Kingwood is in a different place as there was much more support than there was during the year where Occupy Kingwood occupied the same space every Saturday for 52 consecutive weeks.
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