The next generation action network is a nonprofit group made up of religious leaders, with a goal for social change. Wednesday evening the group organized a peaceful ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest at Belo Garden Park in downtown Dallas. The protest unfortunately ended in police fatalities and several critical injuries.
Lauren Singleton, was a protestor and shared her experience of how the evening unfolded. She told us she arrived at the park around 7 PM, where she saw people holding signs, and flowers- mourning the death of Alton Sterling who was recently killed by an officer in Baton Rouge.
Singleton said the protest remained protest, until later in the evening she noticed a man standing next to her wearing a gas mask, she also noticed a woman swinging a bat. It was shortly after, she, and others tried to leave.
“Then suddenly, everyone was running, and all you could hear is gun shots. It was like a machine gun. We ran into the courthouse to take cover. We were trying so hard to stay calm.” said Singleton.
Lauren said that she thinks this shooter had no intentions of a peaceful protest, nor was he even a protestor at all.
“All of the buildings where we were marching, were blocked off,” said Singleton. “The entrance to those buildings were blocked off. So whoever was shooting from the building, it was obvious that it was planned. Because there was no way for any of the protestors to get into the building.”
Lauren said that although the police officers were respectful she was worried that they were going to associate all of the protestors with the shooting, so they hid.
“We did not want the police to think we were coming at them or attacking them or doing something wrong,” said Singleton. “So we were afraid to approach them to ask what we should do. So we all stayed together, and we were hiding.”
She said that nearly 800 protestors attended, and the organized attendees were hoping that this event would bring about social change, but that there were those in the crowd that had their own agenda.