NAACP MARCH MM 11

Jerico Taylor, 9, holds a sign following an NAACP march regarding the death of Michael Dean from Temple City Hall to Temple Police Headquarters on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. Michael Miller/Telegram

The Temple community will hold a solidarity prayer service at 2 p.m. Saturday at Miller Park as a peaceful protest of the officer-related death of George Floyd.

The event at the park is intended to unify the community, Temple NAACP President Bennie Walsh said Monday.

“We’re not out to destroy our community but to build on relationships and communication,” Walsh said. “We communicate to make changes.”

Miller Park is located at 1919 N. First St.

Another Temple event is planned for Friday night.

Resident Patrick Arryn said he was motivated to organize the Friday protest after the deaths of Floyd and other men who have been killed by law enforcement officers across the nation.

The protest is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday near the Temple Municipal Building, 2 N. Main St. Attendees will have the chance to share their thoughts with each other and listen to speakers. Arryn said he had no idea on how many attendees might show up Friday, but expects the turnout to be good.

Arryn said he plans on inviting special guests to speak to those gathered Friday but has not received confirmation on who will speak.

Afterwards, Arryn said, the event will continue Friday evening as participants are expected to make their way down to 31st Street to protest in the Temple Mall area.

“I am not going to promote violence or the destruction of anybody’s personal belongings or personal building,” Arryn said. “But, I am going to let this police department know that I am not going to allow anybody to have their weight put on their neck, and I am not going to allow anyone to be dehumanized or mistreated by any police officers.”

Arryn said he plans to hire security guards to escort protestors during the event.

The Telegram sent questions to the Temple Police Department on Monday and spokesman Cody Weems said the city was working to provide information but no responses were received by press time Monday evening.

In Killeen, a peaceful candlelight vigil was held Sunday for Floyd and others whose treatment struck many as unjust is the first of many to come, according to event organizers.

A Facebook group called Let’s Move Killeen has been initiated to serve as a starting point for those looking to be involved in the conversation of race relations, police brutality and constructive change going forward.

FME News Service contributed to this report.