Sugar Land stands together

Diverse city message: We are a community of respect, we stand united

Color Guard Scouts Troop 992.

Color Guard Scouts Troop 992.

Overcast skies, light drizzling for a while, and in spite of the heat and humidity, Sugar Land residents have come together to proclaim their message of unity, support and respect. Of symbolic relevance, a couple of loud thunder claps from up above were clearly heard before the start of the event, graciously emceed by Michele Fisher.

“We love Sugar Land, we love Texas, we love America, we are a community of respect, we stand united.” That was the orchestrated, energetic chant from the steps of the Town Square Plaza this past Sunday afternoon as a drone overhead video captured the declaration. There were also brief commentaries from selected members of the city’s diverse community captured on video before the event kicked off. Mary Favre, for example, said she was of Irish descent and more.

Amy Mitchell, Sunny Sharma and Sue Hauenstein and Shirley Brown at Sugar Land Stands Together event on July 17, 2016 at Town Center.

Amy Mitchell, Sunny Sharma and Sue Hauenstein and Shirley Brown at Sugar Land Stands Together event on July 17, 2016 at Town Center.

“Our thanks as citizens to our police department, the men and women that keep us safe,” Mayor Joe Zimmerman told those that turned out in response to last week’s social media post, an invitation from Councilmember Amy Mitchell that gathered momentum. The Sugar Land Exchange Club, too, came forward and was among the sponsors joined by others. Unfortunately, some social media posts continue to call for what is called cop purging and attacking everything in blue, which some argue can be construed as offensive and threatening hate speech tantamount to falsely yelling fire in a theater. It’s a legal matter related to free speech.

But, locally in Sugar Land, the unified message has been respectful. “We love our city, we are so proud of our city, and this is an opportunity for our citizens to send a message throughout the world that we will not tolerate the kind of bigotry and violence that is being perpetrated in our country,” said Councilmember Mitchell, who is now also serving the City of Sugar Land as its Mayor Pro Tem.

Wells Fargo Volunteers.

Wells Fargo Volunteers.

Missouri City Councilmember Anthony Mauroulis and District 27, State Rep. Ron Reynolds, who covers Eastern Fort Bend County, and others from neighboring communities showed up to support the effort. There was a moment of silence for the police officers followed by religious leaders of different faiths from Fort Bend, who were invited to speak. They relayed a consistent message – coming together in the spirit of unity, acceptance and love.

Reportedly, in Houston, hundreds recently gathered for a peaceful demonstration along with city police calling for peace and unity and for an end to violence. Also, Congressman Al Green organized a town hall event this past Saturday at the Kingdom Builders’ Center near Stafford, where Stafford High School recently hosted its 2016 graduation. It was about an exchange between the community and law enforcement and elected officials called a courageous conversation on race and policing.

“We had some of our citizens come out and honor our police department” this past Thursday, said Mayor Zimmerman about earlier community support in response to the tragic events besieging our nation.

This Sunday morning’s police slayings and injuries in Baton Rouge called another ambush, said one participant at the event, give being here even more relevance. “We need to support and defend the defenders of our society,” he said. Some said the number of participants seemed low at about 250 to 300, perhaps due to rain in the forecast, the heat, or maybe even because there was fear about being subjected to a possible senseless shooting.

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