Residents organize in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter movement

Mark Peabody, second from right, stands with protesters in front of the Port Isabel Lighthouse in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and advocating for stopping police violence in the U.S. Photo courtesy of Mark Peabody.

By Gaige Davila

Residents of Port Isabel have organized in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, through protests at the Port Isabel Lighthouse and a future Facebook page dedicated to the movement coming soon. 

On June 7, Mark Peabody and several others protested in front of the Port Isabel Lighthouse, waving signs advocating for stopping police violence against Black people in the United States at passing cars coming from South Padre island. 

“These atrocities are happening, whether you want to acknowledge them or not,” Peabody said. “People are here on vacation, but they should still acknowledge it. You live in this country, you are vacationing in a part of this country, you’re going to see this.”

He continued, “One can’t simply turn a blind eye to it.” 

Peabody said his organizing aims are for raising awareness of police brutality in inner cities, similar to protests continuing across the United States after Houston-born George Floyd was murdered by former Minneapolis Police Department officer Derrick Chauvin. Chauvin is currently awaiting trial for a second-degree murder charge. 

Peabody said people were patronizing towards him and fellow organizers through Facebook, accusing them of not being employed or from the area. Peabody said this has quelled for now, but dismissed the accusation that he and the protestors were demonstrating for attention.

“It’d be a call for attention if we were there for an hour. However, we stayed there to the point of sunburn,” Peabody said. Peabody and three to five others were demonstrating from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Several people pulled over to voice support for the demonstration, Peabody said, while others attempted to question or discredit the aims of their protest. “There were more positive interactions with the public than negative ones,” Peabody said. 

For now, the protests have been postponed, Peabody said, due to rising cases of COVID-19 in the area.

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