Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement filled the room at Thursday night’s panel in Austin. The People’s Task Force of Austin co-sponsored the discussion which focused on combating racism as well as showing solidarity and support for those who have lost their lives at the hands of police.
LaKiza Fowler was among the first to speak on behalf of her brother, Larry Jackson, who was killed by an Austin detective in 2013. “The system we are dealing with is not fair, and that’s why I fight everyday to make sure that my brother gets justice,” said Fowler.
In 2013 Austin Detective Trey Kleinert approached Jackson as he entered a bank that had been robbed earlier that day. After being questioned Jackson took off running, where Kleinert pursued him. Kleinert then shot and killed Jackson in the back of the neck. Jackson was unarmed.
“We have families that are going through the same thing we are, all across the nation. What you see on the news is not always the whole truth. I want people to see Larry’s humanity. I’m here to fight for Justice,” said Fowler.
Professor of Anthropology and African and African Diaspora Studies at UT-Austin, Dr. Kristen Smith believes that the current justice system is broken. “It’s about calling out a system that refuses to acknowledge our humanity. This is a system we have to dismantle and change,” Smith said.
Among the other speakers were Rodrick Reed, brother of death row inmate Rodney Reed and activist in the Free Rodney campaign and International Socialist Organization and People’s Task Force member Lucian Villasenor.
The Black Lives Matter movement continues to gain momentum in central Texas, with rallies and panels occurring more and more frequently. Protesters of the movement managed to briefly shut down I-35 southbound last weekend and countless marches have occurred over the past couple of months. Roderick Reed closed his discussion by saying “It’s about all of us coming together. Black Lives Matter is a starting point, it’s about all lives but we need to start somewhere.”
More information about the Austin BLM Chapter can be found here.