Local Rapper Organizes First of Many Arlington Protests

The events that transpired about a week ago that resulted in the murder of a black Minneapolis man in the hands of a white police officer shook the world. The incident in Minneapolis seems to follow a continuing trend of black people being killed in police encounters. Inspired by demonstrations in surrounding cities, an Arlington artist called upon her social following Monday afternoon to create the first protest the city has seen.

Peaceful protestors hold signs demanding justice for George Floyd.

On Monday afternoon, protestors gathered to demand justice following the death of George Floyd. Peaceful protestors occupied the bridge on South Center St. and I-20 next to the popular Arlington Highlands. As residents enjoy a patio lunch with their families at Plucker’s and Chuy’s, not far away protestors chant “I can’t breathe” while holding signs in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Arlington police blocked off the bridge and guided traffic as protestors shared their messages with rush hour traffic below. Passerby’s honked and held their fists out of their windows in support of the protest.

Black Lives Matter supporters use the hood of their car to sprawl their messages across posters.

Local Arlington Rapper Big Sammy, the organizer of the event, expressed the desire for her city to start a protest of its own as surrounding cities begin to do the same. When seeking support from her close friends for organizing a protest in the American Dream City, Sammy

The local rapper posts the call to action on Instagram just hours before the demonstration.

explains their negative reactions, but then goes on to say  “What does that say about our city? Our city has seen police brutality. Christian Taylor was one of those examples and we’re just out here because everybody needs to know that it doesn’t matter where we are we are not exempt”. This would be the first of many demonstrations in Arlington throughout the day. “I am somebody that can use their voice. This was put together today,” she boasts.  “I organized this in one morning and look at how many people are here. That’s why we’re here to make our voice heard.” As traffic slows, honks blare from down below, and the crowd’s cheers continue to grow, the local artist goes on to explain “If somebody didn’t think about it before they are going to think about it once they pass this bridge”. 

Peaceful protestors use posters and signs to express their frustration to rush hour traffic below.

When asked about the looting and the safety of businesses nearby in the Highlands and Parks Mall she says “I had to let them know (Arlington PD) and I had to let the people on this bridge know that’s not what we are here for”.  As she eagerly runs back to the crowd she leaves with the message “positivity, that’s what is going to help”.

Arlington police officer and protestors hold a conversation at the end of the Center Street bridge as they aim to heal the city.

With little time and preparation, the protest attracted hundreds to join in peacefully expressing anger, frustration, and solidarity during this turbulent time. This protest is the first of many for Arlington created awareness and sparked conversations around police brutality and the equal treatment of black people in America for the community.

 

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Nikki Frisby
Nikki Frisby
Nikki is an Arlington, Texas native who loves finding hole in the wall restaurants, exploring new cultures, and listening to live music. She is currently a marketing and management double major at the University of Texas at Arlington who is involved in the Goolsby Leadership Academy, American Marketing Association, and LGBTQA Program. As a Yelp Elite member she supports local business and is always up to try new foods.