East Texas protest continues, both parties respond to national violence

Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Despite nationally violent protests against President-Elect Donald Trump, an East Texas group have remained peaceful two days in a row as they speak out against the latest election results.

There are many around the nation who feel the protests are doing more harm than good, but Tyler Peppard who supported Trump, said he respects people's rights to have their voices heard.

"I am all about free speech, I'm all about protests as long as they keep it peaceful," Peppard said. "I have no problem with them voicing their opinions, but for those that are turning violent it's just a shame."

He said although he supported conservatives in the recent election, he does not condone the behavior or comments made by Trump that some feel marginalized minorities.

"I voted in support of my value for the Republican Party, but I think right now it's really hard for some republicans to speak out about that, and that's not fair," Peppard said. "There is going to be the bad apples in every group, we need to sit down and have a discussion about it as human beings, and not republicans and democrats."

In addition, he challenged those protesting in favor of Hillary to remain respectful of the other side.

"When Obama got the second term, I remember being bummed out because I didn't vote for him, but after it was over I went home and carried on with my life, I didn't flip anyone car, and I could only expect the same thing from the other side," Peppard said.

The protests in Nacogdoches have been met with many mixed emotions, but organizers said it will be their first priority to remain peaceful.

Jessi Moore, a senior criminal justice major at SFASU said that their focus in gathering is to be a voice for those that feel voiceless because of recent election results.

"We are not trying to promote violence, we are not trying to promote division, we are fighting for our rights," Moore said. "Because a lot of people here are people of color, LGBT, and women, who are very much at stake with the policy changes that Trump has spoken about through his campaign."

The group agrees that protests beginning to take a violent turn in many major cities around the nation are not supporting the same things they hope to bring awareness to in East Texas.

"We want to set the example for the rest of the Hillary Clinton supporters who are burning flags because that's not right, we don't support that," said protestor Nina Sisemore. "We don't support any of the violence they are doing, however we are hoping to show Trump supporters that regardless of if you voted for him, you have to admit that some of the things he said has inspired hate, and now it's time to take a stand against it."

JT Scates said his reason for protesting is not to change the outcome of the election, but to begin a change at the local level that he hopes to see rise to a national platform.

"What's done is done, but I am trying to make a change in my community," Scates said. "It starts with baby steps and goes up along the ladder, I am here to give a statement against Trumps rhetoric he spewed throughout the election, and to let others know we won't allow that to continue into his presidency."

Both sides agreed that regardless of political affiliation, it is time for the community and nation to come together and find common ground.

"I think the best way to make a change in this country, if that's what you are really after, is to run for office, get involved more than just holding a sign," Peppard said. "But I think above all it's time to have a real discussion, no label hurling at each other, and come together as Americans."

Those protesting agreed that having conversations with people who do not see things the same way is the first step into understanding what unity looks like for the future of the United States.

"I think people need to listen to the other side, listen to why they feel that way they do, and then make an effort to extend kindness and love in the face of those differences," Moore said.

Protestors said they received some harassment from the public over the course of their two day protests, but have also been met with empathy from conservatives wanting to help protestors understand their support for the president-elect.

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