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MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD

South Boston News
SoVaNow.com / June 24, 2020
More than 200 people turned out Saturday for a Black Lives Matter protest in Clarksville that combined appeals for racial unity with calls for political action in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and other African Americans in high-profile killings around the U.S.

The noon rally at the Lake Life Live stage in Clarksville, drew a multiracial crowd that marched peacefully through downtown, bearing signs that decried racism in American life and demanded justice for Floyd and other Black people who have died in encounters with police. As they marched, the protestors shouted chants of the Black Lives Matter movement, drawing the attention of motorists passing through the 25 mph zone who slowed down to listen to what the marchers had to say.

The eight speakers represented a cross section of the Clarksville community, including Black preaches, educators and activists. Also speaking were Clarksville Mayor Kevin Allgood and House of Prayer pastor Lucas Glasscock, both of whom are white.

Rev. DeMario Covington with St. John Baptist Church in Buffalo Junction was among those who called upon the audience to get involved in local politics and community affairs, reading from a poem he wrote titled “VOTE.” It recounted the struggles of Black people throughout American history in the pursuit of their freedom and rights. It was also a plea for protestors to exercise their right to vote.

“America does not need sensationalism, nor does it need emotionalism, what is needed is truth,” said Covington. “To my black brothers and sisters and my white brothers and sisters, the war is not between black and white. The war is not between the police department and black and brown people. The war is simply between evil and good.”

Reading from the preamble of the Constitution and from the Declaration of Independence, Covington asked, “When this was written, black folk were slaves, so the truth of the matter is, did the Constitution really include black people and their descendants?

“If it didn’t, it is our responsibility as black, white, brown, poor, rich, everybody to stand together to bring forth the truth that God has given us our inalienable rights, that God has given us life, liberty, and justice, and no man has the right to be a master over anyone,” he said.

Amirah Muhammad, the event’s lead organizer, joined the call for people to get involved in politics if they want to bring about change. “I cannot stress enough about how important it is to vote, your vote does matter. Change starts here at home, we should be voting in local and state elections,” she said, urging listeners to turn out for Tuesday’s primary to select nominees for the Fifth District congressional seat and U.S. Senate in the November general election.

Muhammad, fellow speaker Antwon Smith and other event organizers made preparations for the event that included free signs for those who showed up without one, and bottles of water to get through the hot early afternoon hours. The bottles of water were donated by Dollar General, prompting a thank-you by Muhammad, and she also recognized Clarksville Police Chief Ricky Wilkinson, Allgood and Town Manager Jeff Jones for their support, among others.

Across the street from the throng gathered at the Lake Life Live stage, Clarksville police watched the demonstration quietly. A handful of members of a self-proclaimed militia group in Halifax County also showed up bearing guns, but they stayed on the outskirts as the rally went forward at the front stage.

At the conclusion of the speeches, organizers called for an eight minute, 46 second moment of silence, matching the length of time that Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on the neck of Floyd — the deadly police encounter that has triggered protests throughout America. After being fired from the Minneapolis force, Chauvin was charged with second degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.

Smith, who spoke last before the marchers took their message to the sidewalks, teared up as he described the pernicious impact of racism in the lives of African Americans.

Allgood quoted Abraham Lincoln — “a house divided against itself cannot stand” — in recognizing there is still much work to be done to overcome social turmoil.

Glasscock, who was joined at the rally by white and black members of his Buffalo Junction church, quoted from Scripture to emphasize a point made by several speakers: that Black people are rightfully tired of the treatment they frequently receive from society. He referenced the Bible story of Jesus journeying through Samaria, wearied by travels and resisting what society was telling him to do. Glasscock referenced the Book of John, chapter four, verses seven through nine to draw a connection to the BLM movement. He said racism runs contrary to the teachings of the Bible.

“People who do not want to see diversity, integration, unification, are going against what God has instructed us to do,” he said.

Speakers further addressed the purpose of the BLM movement — to educate and to change — and voiced pride in the organizers for successfully staging the event. As the afternoon neared its conclusion, they congratulated each other for leading the local call for justice, despite having no government titles or official capacity. They expressed the hope that the rally would have lasting impact on community life.



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Comments

Yeah the streets are littered with dead bodies from Cop shootings. Should have read 200 MORONS marched in Clarksville.

Comments

Complete bunch of BS. False narrative being pushed by the media. Everyone is bowing down to BLM. Ridiculous.

If BLM want to stop young blacks from being killed, maybe they should focus on inner cities, like Chicago. Over Father's Day Weekend, over 100 were shot, 14 or so killed. So, in just one weekend, more young blacks were killed in Chicago than the total number of unarmed blacks killed by police in 2019. And guess who did the killings in Chicago over the weekend?

Abe Lincoln reference? Lol - know your history please.

Fact - a young black man is much much more likely to be killed by another black man vs the police.

2019 Police had to shoot and kill about 1000 people, the majority white. Of the unarmed folks killed by police in '19 41 were white, 10 were black. These are facts, look them up.

Defund the police? Idiots. Turn on your tv and you will see precisely why we NEED police.

Comments

Self Proclaimed?

Halifax County Militia, LLC

Comments

9 Members respectfully posted as security for the protesters. Everyone was friendly and great. Many in the town thanked us. Was good "Unity" for everyone.


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