Earlier this week, I got the opportunity to cover a story with true, tangible impact when I went to Denison to cover the protest against police brutality.
Organizers staged protests in Sherman and Denison this week following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in police custody in late May. Across the country, many protests have been organized in hopes of bringing change to the policing system.
While this certainly wasn’t the first protest I’ve covered, it felt like a first to me due to its size. In recent years, I’ve covered several protests around Grayson County Courthouse, but they were all relatively small compared to the two that occurred this week.
In the lead up to Wednesday’s protest, I kept having a nagging fear in the back of my mind. What if things go wrong?
Over the weekend, I watched videos of protests elsewhere in the country, including those that got violent: protests where looting occurred, protests where people — including fellow journalists — got hurt.
While I kept telling myself it couldn’t happen here, I kept having that recurring fear. “What if...” are two dangerous words when you are playing out scenarios in your head.
Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and my adoptive community remained peaceful on both nights. In Denison, I saw people of all creeds, ages and colors come together to push for a solution. I saw police talking with protesters and joining them in an act of civil discourse. Crowds cheered when Police Chief Mike Gudgel announced that three officers involved in Floyd’s death had been charged earlier that afternoon.
What I saw was a community coming together for a cause.
For all parties involve, the current situation across the nation hits home for a lot of people. Fear, anger, frustration and a myriad of other emotions are all understandable.
However, I feel like these events were even more powerful because they stayed true to what they hoped to accomplish — using peace to combat the violence they seek to bring to an end.
Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.