PHOTOS: Protesters gather in Kingwood Town Center Park to honor George Floyd

Protesters hold handmade signs while they sit and lay on the grass of Town Center Park on June 1. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Protesters hold handmade signs while they sit and lay on the grass of Town Center Park on June 1. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)

Protesters hold handmade signs while they sit and lay on the grass of Town Center Park on June 1. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)

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More than 200 people gather at Kingwood Town Center Park on June 1 to peacefully protest the death of George Floyd. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Gabriela Diaz (left), co-organizer and Kingwood Park High School teacher, speaks at the protest honoring George Floyd on June 1. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Protesters at the Kingwood event lay and sit on the grass of Town Center Park on June 1. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Protesters gather at Town Center Park on June 1. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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More than 200 people gather at Kingwood Town Center Park on June 1 to peacefully protest the death of George Floyd. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Cindy Welch, a co-organizer of the event and Kingwood High School teacher, addressed the crowd on June 1. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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A young attendee holds a candle at the protest honoring George Floyd. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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More than 200 people gather at Kingwood Town Center Park on June 1 to peacefully protest the death of George Floyd. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Some protesters kneel on the grass of Town Center Park on June 1. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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For 8 minutes and 46 seconds, protesters at the Kingwood event lay and sit on the grass of Town Center Park on June 1. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Protesters hold handmade signs while they sit and lay on the grass of Town Center Park on June 1. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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More than 200 people gather at Kingwood Town Center Park on June 1 to peacefully protest the death of George Floyd. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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For 8 minutes and 46 seconds, protesters at the Kingwood event lay and sit on the grass of Town Center Park on June 1. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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More than 200 people gather at Kingwood Town Center Park on June 1 to peacefully protest the death of George Floyd. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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For 8 minutes and 46 seconds, protesters at the Kingwood event lay and sit on the grass of Town Center Park on June 1. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Protesters hold handmade signs while they sit and lay on the grass of Town Center Park on June 1. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Cindy Welch (left), a co-organizer of the event and Kingwood High School teacher, addresses the crowd June 1. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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More than 200 people gather at Kingwood Town Center Park on June 1 to peacefully protest the death of George Floyd. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Many protesters at Town Center Park appear to be school-age students. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Many people laid face down on their stomachs with their hands clasped behind their backs in invisible handcuffs; others knelt, lit candles or sat silently with the more than 200 people who gathered at Kingwood Town Center Park on June 1 to peacefully protest the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, an unarmed black man from Houston, died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes while he was in police custody.

In the week since Floyd's death, the nation has erupted in a series of protests and marches—with several taking place in Houston over the weekend and more expected to take place June 2.

The Kingwood event was hosted by two Humble ISD teachers and was put together in less than 24 hours. For 8 minutes and 46 seconds, protesters silently laid and sat on the grass of Town Center Park.

"I want to be clear that we are here because George Floyd is coming home tomorrow, and we want to honor his life," said Gabriela Diaz, a co-organizer and Kingwood Park High School teacher.


Diaz said the event began with a message from Cindy Welch, another co-organizer and Kingwood High School teacher, at 2 a.m. June 1. Diaz said while she did not expect many people to attend because the event was organized so quickly, she was not altogether surprised to see the large turnout from the Lake Houston-area community.

"This is a beautiful community full of upstanders and people who knew in their heart immediately what the right thing is, and people came here because they want to do the right thing," she said.

Welch, who said she was a police officer with the Houston Police Department for four years before becoming a teacher, said she had been afraid to speak up in the past because she has friends in law enforcement and generally supports police officers. Welch said she felt like it was her duty to speak up as a former officer and educator.

"When you're teaching for 14 years and you've taught black students and you're going to continue to teach black students, you have to step up as an educator and let them know that you're there for them and that you're going to support them," she said.

Former Humble ISD student Drew Jefferson also spoke at the demonstration. Jefferson said when was in high school, he helped raised funds for Invisible Children, an organization that protested the conditions of children in northern Uganda.

"Now, I hear, there are people in the U.K., France, Germany, Russia, Japan, protesting the conditions that I live in in America, and I can't even tell you how it makes me feel because I can't explain it. It's surreal," he said.

Editor's note: An image in the gallery was removed to protect the privacy of the subject.
By Kelly Schafler

Editor, Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood

Kelly Schafler is the editor for the Lake Houston, Humble and Kingwood edition of Community Impact Newspaper, covering public education, city government, development, businesses, local events and all things community-related. Before she became editor, she was the reporter for the Conroe and Montgomery edition for a year and a half.



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