More than 100 Texas surfers gathered in Galveston Friday morning to remember George Floyd and all of those who have lost their lives due to police brutality and racial injustice.
In a peaceful oceanside gathering called “George Floyd Paddle Out in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter,” surfers honored Floyd with a moment of silence. Ellie Cherryhomes and Maria Quevedo collaborated in organizing the Paddle Out event. Everyone would be welcomed, whether it be surfers or those who wanted to stand in solidarity with them.
“Let’s come together to peacefully promote equality and Black Lives Matter, and honor the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many more taken unfairly by racial injustice,” Cherryhomes wrote in her Facebook post announcing the event.
FROM TRAYVON TO FLOYD: The lost lives Black Lives Matter fights for
Participants in the paddle-out were also encouraged to bring chalk and create messages of social justice along the Galveston Seawall.
“People in the surf community started a conversation after the death of George Floyd. A paddle-out is a way to honor surfer who is fallen,” Cherryhomes said. “We wanted to honor people who have died from police brutality.”
Cherryhomes said she was inspired by the turnout for the event.
“We organized it just a day ago. 24 hours. We put a flyer up on Facebook,” Cherryhomes said. “We didn’t have any idea about how many people would show up, but 100 people showed up for this.”
The moment of silence last for 8 minutes, 46 seconds marking the time that an officer pressed his knee against George’s Floyd’s neck before his death.
Before paddling out, the surfers wrote the names of people who died in police custody on their arms, in Sharpie.
‘SILENCE IS VIOLENCE’: Why speaking up against racism speaks volumes
“We wanted to inspire people to have conversations about sensitive subjects,” Quevedo said. “It’s important to have those uncomfortable conversations and not just selectively hear what they have to say, but really listen.”
The spot where surfers paddled out had been historically segregated beaches along 28th and 29th near Pleasure Pier.
Cherryhomes said that all Americans work diligently together, listening to each other to fight racial injustice.
“It’s not fair that people in U.S. have to live in fear of violence every day– and other people live with privilege, ” Cherryhomes said. “People need to talk with each other and have uncomfortable conversations, so we can show up and help other people. We need to make sure we’re not a part of the problem.”