On My Soapbox: Stop sabotage

This column represents the thoughts and opinion of Jason Hennington. This is NOT the opinion of the Taylor Press.

Last weekend, I walked about five miles with a group of protesters then went straight to graduation. It was a great, yet tiring, day.

I was so proud of my community and city where I was raised because people came together for one common cause and let their voice be heard.

However, I was also a little upset with my community because there were people who were trying to disrupt a unique and peaceful event. Prior to the march there were people who suggested exercising their second amendment and show up with guns to “protect themselves” against rioters. I found out later there were a few who showed up at H-E-B to try and either stop the march or upset the people involved.

That’s shameful.

During the march, which did slow traffic in some areas, I noticed a driver continuously turn up his stereo to drowned out protesters. Either he realized it wasn’t working or he hurt his ears. Either way, that was really stupid.

We live-streamed the entire walk. I saw some comments that insisted that the protest was unnecessary, and everyone should support graduation 100% instead. I responded that the protest was moved up to 8 a.m. so people could go to graduation.

Overall there were more positive support than negative, but until the negative is addressed, it won’t stop.

On Tuesday, a candlelight vigil was held to honor those who had lost their lives to police brutality. The event was amazing, and I haven’t seen any negativity towards it.

Different story for Wednesday’s forum.

The forum was an opportunity to address some of the tough race-related questions that may make people uncomfortable.

As the moderator, I watched the comments in the live feed. There are a few things to unpack here.

First, we made it clear in the articles for the paper that we would not take questions from the floor and all questions had to be submitted prior to the event.

Second, people continued to ask about everyone’s thought about Sheriff Robert Chody and the Javier Ambler situation. Prior to the event, the organizers agreed to stay away from that topic. I understand it involved Williamson County law enforcement, but that wasn’t the platform.

When there is a positive event in progress, we have to stop trying to sabotage it or inject some kind of hate and anger to the situation.

We still have a long way to go as far as race relations, not only in Taylor, but in the nation. But we will never make it to that promise land of love as long as we find ways to undercut our own people. In other words, if you are not trying to be a part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.

I’m going to get off my soapbox now, but before I do, I want to say even with the protests, vigil and forum, there is still work to be done. We can talk, but now we have to act.

“United we stand. Divided we fall.”

- Aesop

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