Black Lives Matter

Protesters march from Huston-Tillotson to the state Capitol, demanding an end to systemic racism and police violence.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The recent police killings of Black people, the subsequent protests and the removal of Confederate statues and other symbols have focused attention this summer on systemic racism. What has received less attention is the deep and ongoing trauma that racism has laid in.

"The Eyes of Texas" is dispayed at the University of Texas football stadium in 2018.
Jimmy Maas / KUT

"The Eyes of Texas" may be closing for good.

The school song of the University of Texas is under scrutiny – and it didn't just begin last week with social media posts by football players or a petition signed by thousands in the community. There have been decades of discomfort over the song, so a discussion about it is long overdue.

UT football stadium

From Texas Standard:

Student athletes at the University of Texas at Austin are asking the university to change some of its practices and traditions in the wake of national protests against police brutality and systemic racism.

Painters outline "Black Austin Matters" on Congress Avenue early Tuesday morning.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

Parts of Congress Avenue were closed Tuesday as crews painted "Black Austin Matters" across several blocks of the downtown Austin street.

When protesters across the U.S. started marching through city streets late last month, demanding justice for George Floyd, state and local leaders sounded a familiar alarm. 

The civil rights movement largely passed East Texas by in the 1950s and '60s. Today, more than a half century later, there remains little tradition of protest in the region — part of plantation country during slavery — and scant experience with organizing.

Patrick Meredith/Texas Athletics

Several athletes at the University of Texas at Austin are refusing to participate in recruiting incoming players or show up at donor-related events if university and athletics officials fail to respond to a list of demands geared toward supporting black students, according to a statement released on Twitter on Friday.

Joseph Frilot, a social studies teacher at IDEA Montopolis College Prep, leads a group of educators marching to demand racial justice in education.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Mackee Mason is the principal at Austin Achieve Public Schools. But at a protest led by teachers Friday, he shared a time when the police made him, a black man, feel like a criminal.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

A group of black community activists led a march from Huston-Tillotson University to the state Capitol on Sunday. Thousands of people turned out for the peaceful protest.

“This was an idea on a Tuesday, we sat down on a Friday to iron out the details, and Sunday you had thousands on top of thousands on top of thousands,” said one of the organizers, Reese Herd II, who spoke with Texas Standard host David Brown on Thursday.

Black Lives Matter and other signs at a rally against police violence at Huston-Tillotson University on Sundy.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The reality cable show "Live PD," which filmed the death of a black Pflugerville man in custody of Williamson County deputies, has been canceled, A&E Network announced Wednesday.


Young Leaders Tell Us Why They Organize Protests

Jun 9, 2020
Michael Minasi/KUT

From Texas Standard:

The death of George Floyd, which occurred after a white Minneapolis police officer pushed his knee into Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes, has served as a catalyst for protests in a country overcome by the inequitable and unjust treatment of African Americans and people of color.

Austin police officers stand near an overpass on I-35 to prevent protesters from blocking traffic during a demonstration outside police headquarters.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

After Sandra Bland's death in a rural Texas jail drew outrage across the nation, two Texas lawmakers filed a comprehensive bill to address racial profiling during traffic stops, ban police from stopping drivers on a traffic violation as a pretext to investigate other potential crimes, limit police searches of vehicles and other jail and policing reforms.

Updated 7:28 p.m. ET

George Floyd, whose killing by police inspired worldwide protests calling for an end to systemic racism and police brutality, was taken to a cemetery for burial Tuesday in his hometown of Houston.

The black man died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. A video captured by a bystander showed Floyd pleading for air and calling out for his mother.

Floyd, 46, was to be buried next to his mother.

Austin police keep watch on protesters at a demonstration May 31.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council will consider multiple resolutions Thursday to direct money away from the police budget and toward the root causes of issues that lead to police interactions – including domestic violence, homelessness and addiction.

Philonise Floyd breaks down at a news conference outside a memorial for his brother, George, in Houston on Monday.
Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media

Hundreds of mourners grew to thousands lined up outside a Houston church Monday to honor George Floyd, a former Houston resident who was killed by police in Minneapolis two weeks ago.

Thousands rallied at Huston-Tillotson University in East Austin to protest police violence on June 7, 2020.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Thousands gathered at Huston-Tillotson University in East Austin on Sunday to rally against police violence against black people and systemic racism. It was at least the 10th day of protests in Austin over the death of George Floyd, who was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis on May 25, the latest in many police killings of unarmed black people nationwide. Protesters are also demanding justice in the killing of Mike Ramos, a Hispanic and black man, by Austin police April 24.  

Michael Minasi/KUT

It’s Pride Month – a time usually filled with parades and celebrations. But after recent unrest in Austin and across the country in response to the police killings of unarmed black people, the LGBTQIA+ community took to the streets for a different reason.

Austin police move to clear protesters from I-35 during protests against systemic racism on Sunday.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

A fractured skull. A severe chest wound. A broken jaw from where a lead-pellet bag lodged inside the person's mouth. The injuries to protesters over the weekend could have been fatal, the Austin-Travis County EMS chief told City Council members Friday morning. The physical and psychological recovery could take years.

And all the injuries were caused by police.

Michael Minasi / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Joshua Howell wants you to listen. He wants you to listen to people of color when they talk about and document police violence and racism. He wants you to experience it as those folks did.

Demonstrators face off with law enforcement in downtown Austin in solidarity with nationwide demonstrations and protests in honor of George Floyd of Minneapolis and, locally, Mike Ramos.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Austin Public Health officials say people who participated in recent large gatherings — like protests against police violence — should sign up to get tested for COVID-19, even if they don’t have symptoms.

The city is expanding eligibility for people without symptoms to get tested for free at drive-thru sites.

Austin police officers block protesters from getting onto the highway during demonstrations against police violence Sunday.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Austin police will not fire bags filled with lead pellets into crowds going forward, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said Thursday.

Demonstrators facing police hold signs saying "Honor your rage" and "End police brutality" at a protest in downtown Austin on Sunday.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council heard from hundreds of people during an emergency meeting Thursday that addressed police violence at weekend protests against the killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Mike Ramos in Austin. 

Sam Biscoe served as Travis County judge for 15 years before returning to the position on an interim basis in May.
Office of County Judge Sam Biscoe

Sam Biscoe is no stranger to racism. He grew up in the shadow of segregation in Tyler, participated in the civil rights movement and started his career as a lawyer with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP. 

Liz Brake, a volunteer medic, poses outside Austin Police Department headquarters during nationwide protests against racism and police brutality.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Liz Brake had a long day Saturday. A lot of people did. One could argue the entire country did

As a volunteer medic on the streets of Austin, she worked through waves of pepper spray, waves of "beanbags" fired off by law enforcement, and hours of chanting by demonstrators targeted by those beanbags.

Protesters demonstrate against police brutality, in Austin on Sunday.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

More than 300 people have signed up to talk about what transpired during weekend protests against systemic racism and police killings, at an emergency Austin City Council session Thursday.

Council members will reconvene the following morning to hear from Austin Police Chief Brian Manley. No immediate action is expected to be taken.

Photos of Ahmaud Arbery and Michael Ramos are displayed during a vigil on Wednesday.
Michael Minasi / KUT

A small group of pastors and community members prayed for peace and justice during a vigil in East Austin Wednesday night. The solemn gathering was a contrast to protesters chanting around the Austin Police Department a mile away. 

People gather at Austin Police Department's headquarters on Sunday to protest police violence against black people.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Gov. Greg Abbott warned during a press conference Tuesday that people are coming from outside Texas to protest violently.

Protesters gather in downtown Austin on Sunday demanding justice for black people killed by police.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that Texas won’t be asking U.S. military to come into the state in response to protests.

“We know that Texans can take care of Texans,” he said at a news conference in Dallas. “We have tremendous police forces in Dallas, in Fort Worth, in the surrounding suburbs, across the entire state.”

Chas Moore, founder and executive director of the racial justice group the Austin Justice Coalition, speaks to a crowd at the Capitol on Sunday during a rally protesting police violence against black people.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Thousands of protesters marched through the streets in and around downtown Austin over the weekend – demanding an end to police violence against black people. The death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed by police in Minneapolis, sparked protests here and across the country. But protests in Austin were also demanding justice for Mike Ramos – an unarmed black and Hispanic man killed by an Austin Police officer in April. 

People gathered at the Capitol on Sunday to protest police killings of unarmed black people.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Chas Moore, executive director of the Austin Justice Coalition, says he doesn’t condone or criticize protesters’ actions in Austin over the weekend.