More than 100 Southwest Austin residents from the Sendera neighborhood marched down Davis Lane with “Black Lives Matter” signs in hand June 19 in an effort to bring the international conversation about racial injustice to the neighborhood level.
“It was a tremendous success; there was really wonderful energy in the air,” said Erica Ciszek, one of the event’s organizer and a Sendera resident. “When everyone was gathering, there was an overwhelming sense of commitment by the community to justice.”
Ciszek said the goal of the event was to give families in the area—which may not have been comfortable attending the protest in downtown Austin over the past month due to health or safety concerns—an opportunity to show support to the ongoing movements discussing racial injustice and seeking change. She said she spoke to residents including Deedee McKee, who sparked the idea for the march and helped collaborate.
As a result, a majority of those at the march June 19 were neighborhood families who brought their young children to march, hold signs and talk about what has been going on across the country in a safe environment.
“This was an opportunity for folks like myself and my family to bring [the movement] to a micro level,” Ciszek said. “With the parents and neighbors in the community, there was a sense of, we want to do something and get together in a way that feels safe and where we could be a sounding board for some of the larger dialogues we have been hearing over the past several weeks in Southwest Austin.”
She said while organizing the event there was some unease, as individuals voiced resistance to the march in the neighborhood. However, she said after the event that the response overall was “incredibly positive.”
“I imagine it sort of planted a seed for larger neighborhood conversations and happenings as we move forward over the next several weeks, months and years as part of the national movement and energy around justice and equity,” Ciszek said.