One very telling demonstration that took place in McKinney, TX, on Monday evening, June 8, said a lot about the character of the people who live in the Dallas suburb versus the people who put on the protest, which was held outside of the local police department.
Approximately 150 people peacefully rallied there for “accountability” in the aftermath of the Craig Ranch subdivision pool party fiasco. It was an ethnically diverse cross-section of a relatively middle-to-upper middle class suburbia.
They stood in solidarity with a clear message: McKinney would handle its problems and triumph without “outside voices.” Earlier in the day, a speaker at a race activist press conference floated Louis Farrakhan’s name as a threat, if the city did not fire and criminally charge the officer at the center of the pool party firestorm, Corporal Eric Casebolt.
There were no dueling or conflicting protests at this rally. It was just one person’s testimony after another, some filled with emotion and others, frustration. The evening was swaddled in new age aphorisms and multicultural blessings. Dallas resident Mike Ghouse took the reins as the impromptu moderator of this cozy protest. It was promoted online by Mothers Against Police Brutality, athough it was organized by the Olinka Green Defense Committee, according to a press release posted by Ghouse on his website.
Olinka Green is affiliated with Mothers Against Police Brutality but also was identified for her leadership role with the Dallas chapter of the New Black Panthers in a 2009 radio interview. Earlier this year, Green was arrested for the assault of a public servant in what was chronicled as a civil rights violation on The People’s New Black Panther Party Facebook page. She has since been released.
Green spoke at another McKinney rally that took place simultaneously over at the Craig Ranch subdivision elementary school on Monday. She was credited as the founder of No Longer Invisible.
Breitbart Texas’ Bob Price captured this image of Black Panthers at the elementary school during Monday night’s rally.
However, at Monday evening’s police station-held event, they came with personal stories and homemade signs bearing such slogans as: “Just because I’m Black doesn’t mean I’m on section 8,” “The Whole Damn System is Guilty as Hell,” “Black Children, Black Lives, and Black Communities Matter, End Police Brutality.” “Eric Casebolt is a Coward,” Police the Police,” “Don’t frighten our children, protect them,” “End Racism, “The right to end oppression,” and the Al Sharpton-popularized, “No justice, no peace.”
There was also a pencil drawing poster of Trayvon Martin:
Speakers stood alongside Ghouse and behind a banner demanding accountability for the future, which some who spoke called for from McKinney police. Ghouse opened the evening with the National Anthem followed by pluralism prayers, which he described as including people of all faiths and no faith. He then told the crowd, “To those who are biased, you will not fit in with the coming pluralistic society.”
Religiously, pluralism refers to having many religions. It is often thought of as a political science philosophy. The short definition is a view that “in liberal democracies power is (or should be) dispersed among a variety of economic and ideological pressure groups…”
Citizens took turns speaking for 2-3 minutes each; the rally lasted almost two hours. One older black woman told community members to keep recording what they see around them. A young lily-white woman lamented her pale skin pigmentation.
Daniel Sullivan, who said he was with Police Brutality Dallas, called Crispus Attucks, the African-American slave, the first casualty of racism, although historically he has been memorialized as the first casualty of the American Revolution.
The speakers who attended were mixed racially, ethnically and economically. One speaker identified as gay. There was no race-baiting. There were no attacks on the entire McKinney police force. Ghouse also steered the incident towards officer Casebolt, reminding attendees that it did not mean the entire police force was bad. Although all wanted amends from law enforcement, few addressed anything remotely disrespectful in the teens’ behavior.
McKinney is a rather large suburban city within Collin County located roughly 30 miles north of Dallas. The City of McKinney estimates a population of 155,142 in 2015.
The people of McKinney hold a lot of pride in their community. Voted the 2014 best place to live in America, it is family oriented and has a racial diversity index of 104.6 percent according to Money Magazine, which ranked the North Texas city as the best in the nation. In many ways, it is the quintessential master-planned 21st Century urban bedroom community intent on holding firm and sticking together. It is not Ferguson.
Derrick Golden, a pastor at the Amazing Church, addressed the crowd during the evening. He also spoke briefly at the press conference earlier on Monday, where he touched on similar points.
At the rally, Golden said McKinney was capable of handling its own issues, which he asserted were racism and classism. “This is our city,” said the local pastor, who alluded to unnamed “outside voices” infusing themselves “to handle our problems.”
He told the crowd that he had met with McKinney Chief of Police Greg Conley and felt that he “responded appropriately” to the original seven-minute video depicting the pool party incident and Casebolt’s actions. Golden said was also going to meet with the mayor.
He stood firm that what happened at Craig Ranch should not be swept under the rug, and offered “We Are McKinney” as a rally cry to hold firm and “band together.”
“God is going to heal McKinney,” Golden added.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.