Springfield church holds silent vigil during Floyd's Houston, Texas funeral

Published: Jun. 9, 2020 at 6:22 PM CDT
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The 135 members of the First Unitarian Universalist Church have still had no in-person services since the coronavirus outbreak.

But on Tuesday as George Floyd's funeral service was taking place in Houston, Texas a group of about 40 members of the congregation gathered in the hot sun along Battlefield Road outside their church in a silent vigil in Floyd's honor.

Carrying signs that said, "Black Lives Matter", "Spread Love", "Justice for All", "I Can't Breathe", and "Stop Racism", the protestors were met with honks of support by many passing cars.

Most of those holding signs were white and senior citizens.

One of the event's organizers, Dorris Ewing, held a sign that said, "Enough".

"I'm 81 years-old and I've had enough," she said. "I've had enough of police brutality, enough of young men dying on the street. Enough of racial profiling, incarcerating people with mental illness and addiction problems."

The group also included those who were a part of the civil rights movement in the last century.

"Fifty years ago I was protesting at the University of Missouri," said Betty Ridge. "I was a student there. I was protesting the war in Vietnam and I was marching in women's marches and I didn't think I'd still be doing this 50 years later."

"I actually went to high school in Charleston, South Carolina and in 1958 I was expelled from school for promoting integration," said Stella Harrison, who was sitting beside Ridge holding a sign as well.

Stella said her parents did not approve.

"My father hit the roof," she said with a smile.

But she's never stopped her activism.

"You know I've spent my life trying to get arrested for civil disobedience," Harrison said. "Most of my kids have been but for some reason no one wants to put me in jail."

Those who were around for the early days of civil rights say the movement surged forward but fell back.

"We won some victories and then we let up," Ridge said. "We didn't follow through. A lot of people got caught up in the "ME" generation. They went about their lives and things started deteriorating."

But the protestors we talked to say they now truly believe that because of George Floyd, things are different this time and change will happen.

"How can anybody watch a man be slow murdered for almost nine minutes and it not affect them?" said Barbara Bentkowski. "This time it is different. It's multi-racial. And the young people are stepping up to the plate and making changes. Real changes!"

"I see a much more diverse group of people protesting," Harrison added. "Back when I was doing this you didn't see people my age waving signs."

Farrow Carson brought her two young sons to the vigil.

"It's one of my most important jobs as a parent to teach my children the values that I believe in," she said. "That each person has inherit worth and dignity."

"The hate that's going through this country makes me cry every day," Harrison said. "We've got to spread love."