The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis, Minn. law enforcement on May 25 has caused a worldwide call for action to address police brutality, discrimination and racial injustice.
In Farmersville, what started out as a discussion on social media about this injustice in our nation turned into a march to create awareness for unity, equality and justice last Saturday.
Kevin Navors, a Farmersville resident of four years, said the online back and forth postings prompted him to take action. He said during the process someone mentioned “why don’t you do something about it,” so he did.
When Farmersville Police Chief Mike Sullivan reached out to him and offered his help, Navors began the process of developing March For Unity.
“Chief Sullivan offered his help and gave me some direction about the march. He agreed to walk side by side with the participants and speak at the event,” Navors said.
Sullivan had recently posted a letter on the police department’s Facebook page expressing his disgust about the events surrounding Floyd’s death.
The letter, which was also published last week in The Farmersville Times, outlined Sullivan’s outrage about the actions of law enforcement that day in Minneapolis, publicly condemning the murder.
Sullivan said he’d been paying attention to social media and noticed local citizens were discussing the need to hold a peaceful demonstration, so he sent Navors a note offering help with the march if needed.
The chief said the first concern was to create a safe environment for the marchers. He said that last weekend 37 demonstrations were held, and while he wasn’t concerned about safety challenges from local residents, potential outside interference had to be addressed.
Admittedly, Sullivan said with the large number of events over two days, the possibility of disruption from outside forces was slim.
“In retrospect we had a great turnout and the experience was better than I expected,” Navors said. “I had people come up to me after the event and thank me for the opportunity.”
He added, “I was told that something like this has never happened in Farmersville. I think this is a good step in bringing awareness and building unity.”
The event, For the Love of Life, March For Unity, Equality and Justice, started at 9:30 a.m. at the Onion Shed on Main Street and stopped at the gazebo on McKinney St. It included 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence, representing the length of time Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck until he died.
Navors, Sullivan, rising 9th grader Jaydan Rushing, and Farmersville resident Rhonda Jones spoke and prayed at the gazebo in downtown.
The march then headed back to the Onion Shed, ending with prayer.
“That was pretty powerful,” said Sullivan. “Lots of prayers at the beginning and the end. It was a very positive experience. I glad to be a part of it.”
The next day, Navors recounted the experience with a social media post.
“Today I woke up with a joyful and thankful heart. I took the time to choose my words correctly today. I would like to thank you all for trusting in my efforts to organize the March/Protest in Farmersville. It was an honor and it meant a lot to be a part of it. There is a lot to be done in this city and I hope more (will) come together to make this happen. More Unity. Hope everyone stays safe and peaceful. TILL NEXT TIME”
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By Chad Engbrock • [email protected]