by Sara Edwards, Contributing Writer
When Flower Mound resident Sarah Edwards’ daughters saw what was happening on the news regarding George Floyd’s murder and the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests, they began to think of their friends and neighbors of color in their community.
“My daughter said to me ‘Mom, that could’ve been my friend,’” she said. “I’ve always been open with my girls about race and it opened up a conversation in our home. I said ‘How about we make some signs and we go stand?’”
Immediately she took to the internet, posting on Facebook pages calling for the community to join her and her daughters in standing up for people of color. She made a Facebook page of her own called “Say Their Names” for ways people could support their cause and things they could do to help people of color around them.
Starting this past Friday, Edwards and her daughters made their own signs with “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Their Name” messages, standing out on a corner at the busy intersection of FM 2499 and FM 1171. People would drive by, honking in support of their movement and even stopping by to join in on the protest themselves.
The first day of their protest, Edwards said there were consistently 45 people, from high school and college students to families with their children, lined up along the street with signs and messages in hand. Since then, they’ve had as many as 105 people coming, including surrounding business owners and even the Flower Mound Police Department bringing coolers of water and Gatorade in hand for everyone participating in the protest.
“How can this message be wrong? How can this message be offensive,” Edwards said. “It’s truly a problem so let’s make a change.”
After one of Edwards’ posts about her protest was removed from a neighborhood Facebook group, Flower Mound resident and activist Laura Haines contacted her and helped spread the word about their protest.
“I reached out to her and said ‘I love what you are doing and I support you,’” she said. “The people who have joined have been organic. They drive by and then come back and stand with us or they saw one of my Facebook posts and they come to join.”
Haines said she’s been approached by so many people of color who were taken aback by the amount of love and support put into the protest standing up for them.
Haines, with her “Black Lives Matter” and “Honk If You Agree” signs and “Make Racism Wrong Again” baseball hat has been on the corner every day since they started. She heads to Facebook Live to broadcast the day’s protest while finding signs for people to hold and passing out water to those who need it. She said if someone wants to come out and hold a sign, she’ll be right there to join them.
“There were so many people of color with tears of their eyes who had never seen such a show of support for their lives in this town and it moved them,” Haines said. “I’ve held several weeping people of color who were so moved by our protest that they couldn’t get a word out for a while. They stopped by to say thank you but once they got here they couldn’t just say thank you.”
Tameka Hughes and her family were on an afternoon drive to the post office when they saw the group protesting on the corner. She turned to her husband and told him to drop them off at the corner so they could stand and protest with them too.
“We see so much regarding black lives as if they don’t matter and you’re seeing a lot of negative things pertaining that black lives don’t matter but they do,” she said.
Each day of the protest, Hughes and her family have come to the corner with their signs, fold out chairs and a little table. She said she wants her son and her young daughters to know that they have rights and if they don’t stand up for those rights, then they can’t complain.
“I told my son, ‘you have rights and as a young black man, you need to be able to say yes my life does matter. I make an impact just like everyone else makes an impact,’” Hughes said. “I need everyone to understand that it’s not every officer. Every officer is not bad. Every black person is not bad. Every white person is not racist. You cannot categorize everyone in one category or you become as they become.”
Edwards said the community has resonated support and positivity to their peaceful protests ever since they started coming to the corner that Friday. She said even online, people are sending love and support online and through Facebook supporting their cause.
“We have brought attention to something that people didn’t think existed in our community and that was one of the biggest concerns,” Edwards said. “People were fearful that it would bring problems to our community. My goal is for people to talk about it because I love our community and we need everyone who lives here to feel loved and supported no matter the color of their skin.”