Local community leaders respond to recent protests

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) After protests nationwide, including a couple here in Abilene over the weekend, black city leaders are addressing the community.

“It’s done happened over and over people should be able to say I’m tired,” says Michael T Royals.

Royals and his family are well known for their work in the community.

“If we can just get everybody to come together, cause you know Abilene is our home. We love Abilene and you see when we did the Martin Luther King March. I’ve had so many people just emotional and said this is what it should be,” says Royals.

Protests here in Abilene took to the streets, marching for George Floyd, a black man killed by a Minnesota officer.

“We need to get every church, the chief of police, the mayor. We need to get everybody in the community to make a statement but, if you keep having these little pop-ups, this group, that group and then before you know it everybody says ‘well that’s that group over there I’m not going to do it’,” says Royals.

Other leaders in our area share the same message of solidarity.

“We need to come together. It could be all the ministers, it could be all the leaders, it could be any spiritual whatever, come together and we talk about it let’s discuss it. Let’s not get out of hand,” says Dee Moore, the president of the Abilene Black Chamber of Commerce.

While protests and demonstrations remain peaceful here in Abilene, it’s a different story in cities across the nation.

“I’m all in favor of protests. Nonviolent protests to get our message out but, not the fires, the looting. No,” says Moore.

The group protesting here drew a diverse crowd.

“It doesn’t matter the color, race, the ethnicity, the religious background, sexual orientation, we are tired of it,” says Andre Gwinn.

Gwinn is also a member of the Abilene Black Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s too much, especially as an African American man. It’s too much to leave the house, make sure I have my hand sanitizer, make sure I’ve got my mask. Not only am I out here trying to survive COVID-19 but, I’m also just out here trying to survive as well because of my skin color. It’s a lot to deal with right now,” says Gwinn.

While many are working to make a change, the president of the commerce says it all comes down to one issue.

“We talk about diversity and valuing everybody’s differences, let’s do that. But, still at the root of this, why are our black males subjected to this treatment,” says Moore.

Both Moore and Royals say they’ve been contacted about organizing a demonstration and say they’re working with other local leaders to make it happen.

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