ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — Brianna Royals’s passion for activism runs in the family, as her grandfather was Claudie C. Royals, who organized the MLK walks in Abilene in the 1990s.
February 15 in Abilene is Claudie C. Royals Day and has inspired his granddaughter to start her own peaceful protest this Thursday at 6 p.m. in response to the murder of George Floyd.
“I saw that video and it literally brought me to tears, and I was like, ‘I have to do something,'” she says.
Brianna Royals has decided to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps.
“I knew, up until the day he died, he was always fighting for the rights of the people. It didn’t matter what color you were or who you were,” Royals says.
Over the past week, Royals has organized a protest to honor George Floyd and unite the City of Abilene.
“I want people to bring candles, I want people to bring their lawn chairs, I just want to have music going. I want to be able to fellowship and just love each other,” she said.
Royals originally planned on having the protest take place in Downtown Abilene. Instead, she is scrapping that idea and is moving it off of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard to MLK Memorial Bridge.
“We have to be the generation to stand up and say that’s enough, we have to demand equality,” she says. “I just want all of the young people and the older people to come out and show we can do this.”
Martez Hawkins, who opened his clothing store Yo! Martez with his team of four January 25, is donating shirts to protestors.
“We just wanted to contribute with our platform as best we could. I thought, ‘What better way to donate free shirts that have a message on them to the people who are standing up for the cause of the injustices around the world?’ We didn’t want to release too much info on the shirt design itself. We just want to inspire people to come to the protest to get their shirts if they want to be included,” Hawkins says.
Hawkins has 180 shirts ready to go for Thursday.
“I’m glad to be a part of it and I’m glad to contribute and show that we are a voice for the people,” Hawkins says.
“We need to come together as a community and Abilene does a very good job at being here for people,” Royals says.
Royals said about 70 people have reached out to her about joining the protest so far.
Royals can be reached on Facebook. Hawkins can be reached on Instagram at @yomartez.
Abilene police are also preparing for Thusrday’s protest, releasing the following message on social media inviting people to join the event and reminding them what to bring to stay safe: