For a while, she was the only person standing near the downtown Fort Worth police station holding a sign that said, “RIP Mike Brown.”
But as time passed on Tuesday, Anya Callahan was joined by five other people. One was 7-year-old Law Williams, who held up a sign that said, “Don’t shoot.”
His mother, Kalicia Williams, 29, a black Fort Worth resident, said she is sure that her son will be confronted by racism at some point in his life, just like she has been and just like her parents were before her.
On Tuesday, she said, she struggled to find the right words to say to Law, Williams said. What happened in Ferguson is a hard thing to explain to a 7-year-old, Williams said.
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“I kept getting choked up,” she said. “He’s always been taught to be kind to others. I don’t want him to fear the police or feel that because he’s black, people are out to get him.”
Law started crying as he heard his mother talk to a reporter.
“I thought our conversation was really sad,” he said. “What happened to Brown was unfair because there was no reason he had to die.”
As the boy buried his face in his mother’s hip, he was comforted by his aunt, Latawnya Peachy, 38. Law is just learning about the concept of death, the finality of it, the inescapability of it, she said.
“To find out it’s something that could happen to you, or to find out that what happened in Ferguson is more likely to happen to someone who looks like you, is quite frightening,” Peachy said.
Callahan, 24, the white woman who attracted the other protesters downtown on West Belknap Street, said she awakened to a Twitter account exploding with the news of people protesting in other cities and rioting and Ferguson, Mo., frustrated about the grand jury’s decision to no-bill the police officer who killed Mike Brown. Callahan said she did a Google search and discovered some protests were being planned in Dallas.
Callahan said she did not want to go there.
“Fort Worth is my community,” she said. “Change starts with one person talking to the people around them. People want to say racism doesn’t exist but that’s not true. People are afraid to talk about it but we need to talk about it and it can’t be ignored because our children are getting murdered.”
In Dallas, marchers made their way onto Interstate 35E near downtown, bringing traffic to a stop in both directions for miles for two hours. Several protesters were detained, according to news reports.