East Texans Black Lives Matter organizers defend the movement - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

East Texans Black Lives Matter organizers defend the movement

The Black Lives Matter movement has been going strong in the United States. East Texas members of the group say they are opposed to police brutality against African-Americans.

However, this week, one Fox News anchor stirred up some controversy saying the group is causing more harm than good.

“Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but it’s not a hate group. We’re just speaking up for black people as a whole,” said Damion Yarbough, a community activist.

Since the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the Black Lives Matter movement has been growing all across the United States. Recently, thanks to two local community activists, there is now a group right here in East Texas.

“We felt it would be beneficial to every person if we did something out of love instead out of hatred,” said Dan Brown, a community activist.

The movement, which originally started to bring awareness to police brutality, has been recently been a part of negative conversations.

"Kevin, why has the Black Lives Matter movement not been classified as a hate group? How much more has to go in this direction before someone actually labels it as such?" Fox and Friends co-host Elisabeth Hasselback asked.

That one question started a social media frenzy.

“It’s a shame that when we want to stand up for ourselves people have to say that we’re a hate group, or that we’re thugs and it’s nothing like that,” Yarbough said.

“As far as the killings with the police and everything there has been no proof that there has been related to them doing anything like that,” said Dan Brown, the first vice president of the NAACP's Nacogdoches chapter.

Local Black Lives Matter organizers say it’s time for a change. 

“Officials have seen riots in Baltimore, or they’ve seen a level of violence from the black community." Brown said. “OK, that’s why they have that perception. My thing is, it’s time to change that perception. The truth can’t be denied; the truth can only set you free.”

As for now, the community activists said they’ll start by making a difference, locally.

“We’re out here cleaning up our own streets because we’re not going to see the city or anybody else come into these neighborhoods cleaning up,” Yarbough said.

If you'd like to help give back to the community, the Black Lives Matter group here in East Texas is hosting a community clean up at Ritchie Park in Nacogdoches. It will be this Saturday starting at 8 a.m.

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