Doree Collins

Doree Collins speaks Friday evening during a rally in downtown Temple.

It is Terris Goodwin’s prayer that people’s hearts will soften and get the message that was shared Friday evening during a peaceful rally on behalf of Michael Dean.

Goodwin was one of the protest’s organizers and speakers at the event, held at 6:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Temple Municipal Building. Estimates of the crowd in the warm afternoon sun ran between 500 and 700 people.

After the formal protest, marchers made their way to the Temple Police Department.

Dean was shot and killed on Dec. 2, 2019, by former Temple Police Officer Carmen DeCruz during a traffic stop. Dean was not armed, according to an investigation. His death was one of several black men who died that way, with national attention focused on the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The message speakers shared in the local events was that black lives matter and unity and softened hearts need to overcome the world’s hatred and lies — in Temple and around the world, Goodwin told the Telegram.

Getting the message

“Getting people to listen is the thing,” she said. “Seeing people there who were not black and who were getting the message, hearing the stories of police brutality that were not made up and were indeed personal experiences, will hopefully soften hearts.”

Some people don’t see any police brutality, Goodwin said, but she thinks the message reached both the middle and right side of Temple’s spectrum.

“We need to go back to empathy and compassion,” Goodwin added.

Antioch Community Church’s college pastor Luke Whyte was both shocked and honored he was invited to speak at the Friday rally, he said Tuesday.

Whyte said he felt confident about the peacefulness of the protest and even brought his young son with him.

On the drive home to Waco, he and his black friend talked about how impactful the process to get the protest together was. The evening gave Whyte a deeper conviction to stand up, build relationships and speak truth and love in a world full of hatred and lies, Whyte said.

Having new Temple Police Chief Shawn Reynolds at the protest and hearing his words was important, he said.

“The peaceful demonstration showed how important it is for change to happen across the board,” Whyte said as he mentioned the Temple City Council, police department, mayor and others.

Walsh says “Hallelujah”

Temple NAACP president Bennie Walsh shared some of the same positive outlook about the outcome of Saturday’s 2 p.m. prayer service at Miller Park as Goodwin did about Friday’s protest.

“Hallelujah” was the first word Walsh used to describe Saturday’s prayer service in Miller Park.

Walsh said it was an interracial come-together that was a blessing and healed some racial hurt.

“People came together,” Walsh said. “I think they are open now to talk about racism and learn. We’re here to make a difference, first in Temple and then in the world.”

About 200 people attended the Saturday event, according to Walsh.

Most tried to find shade in the 90-plus degree heat.

To close the service, a group of eight children symbolized the last 8 minutes, 46 seconds of George Floyd’s life as a Minneapolis policeman knelt on his neck and cut off his breathing.

The children said things like, “I can’t breathe.” Then, for the last 46 seconds, everyone got very quiet as Floyd breathed his last breath, Walsh said.

VOTER EDUCATION

Voter registration from education will be offered from 6-8 p.m. Friday at the Un-Included Club, 11 N. Sixth St. in Temple. The goal is to work for equality for all Temple residents, and increase voter registration among black voters.