Texas State Representative Lorraine Birabil (D-Dallas) and community leaders held a demonstration called #SayTheir Names in honor of those who lost their lives through an excessive use of force by law enforcement.
"All too often unfortunately we have people who think that we’re thugs, they see us as animals and less than human I think that’s part of the problem," Birabil said. “The point of this today, is to get a collection of professionals who want to help demonstrate we are human, similar to the civil rights movement in the 60's when they said, ‘I am a man ."
The event took place at Freedman’s Memorial Cemetery, which is symbolic in itself because it's the location of the unmarked grave of African Americans that date back as early as the Civil War.
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The event comes after Birabil announced that her first piece of legislation
would focus on addressing police violence. Birabil called upon Governor Abbott for a special session of the 86th legislature to address the concerns of the black community along and the greater concerns of the criminal justice system.
She said she plans on filing a bill called the "See Something Say Something" for law enforcement.
“If they see a colleague who engaged in police brutality or misconduct, they should say something. It hurts the profession when we have bad actors who are making everyone else look as though they’re not doing their job or they don’t care about the community that they show," Barabil said.
The Dallas native said the subject matter became personal for her ten years ago when her father, a retired scientist from UT Southwestern, had an encounter with police.
“I literally watch my father be assaulted by the Dallas Police Department and I was arrested because I recorded it," said said. "Now, this was 10 years ago, after that I decided to go to law school because I wanted to be part of the solution.”
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing practices should be maintained and masks will be required for those participating in the protest.