Canyon residents observe protest Saturday, June 13


Photo by Kodi Hicks, Graphic Illustration by Blake Loria

The peaceful demonstration will be followed by a prayer for the community and nation.

Canyon residents can attend a peaceful protest Saturday, June 13 at 9 a.m. at Canyon’s town square to stand against racial injustice against the black community in America.

The group will march around the town square seven times then take a knee and pray. Protest organizer Deetress Peoples said the protest is an expression of unity.

“My hope is that the good people of Canyon, Texas will come together to say with a collective voice, ‘We take a stand against racial injustice and believe that black lives matter,’” Peoples said. “God has given me a voice, and I want to use it in a positive and peaceful way.”

The march is symbolic of the story of Jericho, Peoples said.

God has given me a voice, and I want to use it in a positive and peaceful way.

— Deetress Peoples, protest organizer

“When thinking about the best way to end racial injustice, I know looking to God is the only way through,” Peoples said. “In the Old Testament, Joshua marched around the walls of Jericho seven times trusting God to win the battle for them, and God prevailed as He always does. I see racism as a wall that is dividing our entire country, and I want God to break down those walls.”

Peoples said those intending to attend the protest should wear all-black and a face mask.

“It was a way to make a statement without saying anything,” Peoples said. “While we are here to protest the many injustices that are happening in the black community, we are also here to turn our eyes to our God who created us in unique ways. We are trusting him as our source of hope. He is the only one who can give us the courage, strength and wisdom to tear down these walls.”

Along with wearing black, Peoples said attendees should not bring posters.

I see racism as a wall that is dividing our entire country, and I want God to break down those walls.

— Deetress Peoples, protest organizer

“The reason we are not using posters at this rally is that above all, I want God to be respected,” Peoples said. “Sometimes the messages people display on posters incite controversy and disagreements among people; I want this to be peaceful and God-honoring.”

Peoples said she spread word about the protest on social media and by speaking to people.

“My church has supported and helped me, but I’ve been so surprised and grateful at how many people from the Canyon community have reached out to help,” Peoples said. “I know my family and friends support me in wanting change, and that is all I want.”

Senior Emma Wilcox said she plans on attending the protest and found out it through the “Justice For George Floyd and All Victims of Police Brutality-Tx Panhandle” Facebook group.

“All of the previous protests in our area have been very peaceful,” Wilcox said. “We aren’t there to cause riots or fight; we just want to make change in our country, and to help with that we are using our voices. We are there for each other, and we want people to feel like they can speak about what they believe in.”

Wilcox has attended four locally-held protests.

“People are always kind and want to help each other out,” Wilcox said. “The police in our area have been great. Every time they show up, they make it clear that they are there to keep us safe which is greatly appreciated. We have also prayed before and after every protest which is such an inspiring thing to be a part of as a Christian.”

Wilcox said she wants to fight for her brothers to live in a better world.

“All three of my brothers are POCs (people of color),” Wilcox said. “I think that this protest is important because it is the first organized protest in Canyon for BLM, and that this is a big step for Canyon. I hope this protest will bring some awareness to our community about this movement. I also hope this shows people we can be peaceful, kind and [can] social distance while fighting for what we believe in.”