Hundreds of people gathered in Athens on Sunday for a Black Lives Matter rally held outside Athens City Hall.
Speakers urged respect, both for African Americans and for police, according to an article in Flagpole Magazine.
“All the people who want the violence and killing to stop, we need to come together, because we don’t want this to happen in our community,” Mokah Jasmine Johnson, a teacher and hip hop promoter who organized the rally said, according to the article. “We don’t want police officers killed out of vengeance. We don’t want young black men shot down.”
Thousands also marched in Atlanta over the weekend as well has others in Baton Rouge, LA and St. Paul, MN.
“A handful of police officers, including Athens-Clarke County Deputy Chief Justin Gregory, watched the rally from afar. They weren’t armed with riot gear, as police in other cities have been, and no one was arrested,” the article reads. “It’s all about the Constitution, their First Amendment rights,” Gregory said. “I’m just here to make sure they have what they need.”
Athens-Clarke County Deputy Chief Justin Gregory said it’s about respect. Talking to each other honestly. He believes Athens can set an example for the rest of the U.S.
“Johnson and Clarke County NAACP President Alvin Sheats also had some advice for black men when dealing with police. ‘Respect the officer,’ Sheats said. ‘Respect the law. Be polite and have your ID out if you're pulled over, he said.’”
Johnson told Flagpole that the solution is threefold and includes people from different backgrounds coming together to talk – with respect and love. She also said part of the solution is to vote.
“The people in authority, the only reason they have authority is we give them that authority,” hip hop artist Versatyle the Wildchyld told the Flagpole. “There’s an economic component, too. Broderick Flanigan, an African American painter, circulated through the crowd distributing flyers urging people to boycott Walmart and fast-food restaurants and support black-owned and locally owned businesses.”
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