‘Creating An Environment Where All Would Feel Welcome‘

Recent high school graduate organizes rally that binds Trophy Club community

After attending a Black Lives Matter protest in Flower Mound, Alicia Livingston wanted to organize a similar event in her Trophy Club community. What started out as an Instagram post soon evolved into something quite more, with more than 700 people turning out June 4 at a green space on Trophy Lake Drive.

“I think supporting young people who want to step into this moment is very important,” said Rev. Edlen Cowley, senior pastor of Fellowship UMC Trophy Club. “They will not just be impactful in the future; they can be impactful in the present moment. We need to help and teach them how to lift their voices and leverage all the opportunities they have as Americans to speak.

“It was a blessing to be a part of something that was so important and will be talked about as a time when folks raised their voices in response to the killing of George Floyd. I believe that for this to happen in Trophy Club shows how widespread the angst and anger is about the Floyd killing. Perhaps this time we will get some real change.” 

Livingston, a recent Byron Nelson High School graduate with a passion for advocacy, sat down to discuss the impact she believes the event had on her community and the role we all play in dismantling racism.

Protest montage

Can you describe how the event came to be?

Earlier in the week, I invited my friends to attend a Black Lives Matter protest in Flower Mound, but their parents didn’t feel safe letting them attend. I decided to create a safe Black Lives Matter protest for the community of Trophy Club in hopes of creating an environment where all would feel welcome.

What did you hope to accomplish?

I wanted my black friends to know that they have a right to protest peacefully and not feel threatened. In addition, I hoped the protest would help the small town of Trophy Club understand that racial inequality affects the community, which is largely white. Lastly, I think it’s important to demonstrate that all types of people have a role in supporting BLM.

(According to the Census Bureau, Trophy Club has a population of 12,451 and is 89.2% White and 2.6% African American.)

What has the reaction been like in your community?

Initially, there was some backlash regarding the protest. However, during the event and since the protest, the feedback has been better than I could have ever hoped. I thought there would be about 150 attendees … when in reality there were over 700.

Fellowship montage

What role do you believe The United Methodist Church (and all churches) plays in this issue?

I would love to see more Christians from all denominations follow the lead of Rev. Ashley Anne Sipe and Rev. Edlen Cowley. Christians should be an example to society and show support for the BLM movement. I think scripture strongly supports the BLM movement.

How do you believe your faith formation aided your ability to be an advocate in this regard?

Jesus repeatedly sided with people whom society rejected. Whether it was a prostitute or a leper, he advocated for people facing struggles.

What recommendations would you have for other youth who want to become engaged in something like this?

Do something now. Just thinking about it doesn’t help anyone. Our generation must be the change in society. If you feel led to get involved, then jump in and get started. Also, be open to accepting help from others. This protest was so successful because I involved the police and had the help of Rev. Sipe and Rev. Cowley.

Published: Wednesday, June 10, 2020