Brownwood's Draco Miller urges 'stop the hate' in unscripted oratory

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Draco Miller speaks at the Martin Luther King Jr. observance Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 in Brownwood.

BROWNWOOD — Seated with other speakers at the Martin Luther King Jr. observance Monday in Brownwood, Draco Miller had a problem.

Other than the minister who would deliver the benediction, Miller was the last of several speakers — and he'd accidentally left his notes in his car. Miller could remember some of his major points, but other speakers had already said those things.

Miller, who serves on the Brownwood City Council and is mayor pro-tem, didn't need to worry. He stepped to the microphone and delivered an unscripted 10-minute oratory that was at times soaring, at times preaching, at times scolding as he urged love and unity and condemned hate.

Miller began by urging “loving our community and loving each other. Look at what we’re doing, sitting amongst each other, without division and strife, without rioting and arguments and fighting and shooting, of all ethnicities. We should be proud of each other, to stand with each other, to love one another.

"We all have opinions but we must respect each other’s opinion. We all came on different ships but we’re on the same boat. We need to think about that."

People could not leave the observance "hating our brother and profess to be a Christian and love God, whom you’ve never seen, but hate your brother who you’re standing next to today," Miller said.

Miller also urged people to "extend the hand of fellowship" to those they don't know.

"Let them inside your comfort zone."

Howard Payne University president Dr. Cory Hines speaks during the Martin Luther King Jr. observance Monday in Brownwood.

Miller said people "get caught up in materiel things of this earth that will perish, noting that possessions "mean nothing if your heart is not pure. … reach out to one another. Understand each other’s culture.”

Miller said his mother told him to "listen and you will learn."

"Be careful what you say because words linger and it hurts," Miller said. "It’s easy to say negative things to a person and walk away and say 'I told that person off.' No. What you did was make yourself ignorant … in spite of the difference of our political views and who we subscribe to — Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, Independents or liberals — you’re still a human being.

"All the hate messages that are out there on Facebook today, dividing Republicans and Democrats … stop it. We must unify. It is your right to have your opinion and it is your right to subscribe to who you want to subscribe to, as long as you are respectful to your fellow brothers and sisters. Do not denigrate or belittle them because their thinking is not your thinking."

Speakers at the Martin Luther King Jr. observance including (from left) Draco Miller, Jody Miller and state Rep. Glenn Rogers recite the Pledge of Allegiance along with guests.

Miller challenged the community to refuse to remain silent to hate messages and to call out hate. "And if you have a problem being called out, don’t be negative."

Miller predicted that some would leave the observance and "go to social media and challenge the words spoken there today."

The message that needs to be spread is unity and love, Miller said.

He concluded by saying "BLM — better living matters."