Black Lives Mat­ter sup­port­ers hold protest in Elk­ton

About two dozen at­tend march

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - bshea@ce­cil­whig.com By BRI­ANNA SHEA

ELK­TON — Town streets rang out with the chant “All lives mat­ter, black lives mat­ter” on Sun­day night as about two dozen pro­test­ers marched down­town to show sup­port for the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment.

The peace­ful Black Lives Mat­ter rally started at the en­trance of Meadow Park at about 5: 30 p.m. The group then walked down Delaware Av­enue to­ward the Elk­ton Cir­cuit Court, be­fore walk­ing down North Street and end­ing at the town hall.

The goal of the event was to bring about aware­ness of po­lice bru­tal­ity as well as in­crease po­lice in­volve­ment with the com­mu­nity, said one of the or­ga­niz­ers, Am­ber Bishop.

Sun­day’s protest came at a time when race re­la­tions and po­lice shoot­ings have been thrust into the na­tional spot­light. Ear­lier this month, two black men – one in Louisiana and Min­nesota – were killed dur­ing po­lice stops, and five Dal­las po­lice of­fi­cers were killed by a sniper who al­legedly was seek­ing re­venge on po­lice.

And just a few hours be­fore Sun­day’s protest, three po­lice of­fi­cers were killed and an­other three wounded in a shoot­ing in Ba­ton Rouge.

Dur­ing the rally, Rev. R. Kevin Brown, of Wright’s A.M.E. Church, spoke to the group about com­ing to­gether as a com­mu­nity and said that po­lice bru­tal­ity is

not ac­cept­able.

“I’m out here in sup­port of the move­ment. Black lives do mat­ter, but all lives mat­ter,” Brown said.

He said the goal is to have a peace­ful rally where peo­ple’s voices will be heard and where peo­ple can talk to lo­cal of­fi­cials and po­lice about is­sues in the fu­ture.

Brown said the group is not anti- law en­force­ment, but is also not in fa­vor of po­lice of­fi­cers who abuse their power and do not care about their com­mu­ni­ties.

As part of the protest, the group held a mo­ment of si­lence for the po­lice of­fi­cers who were in­jured and killed dur­ing the in­ci­dents in Ba­ton Rouge and Dal­las.

Brown said that the com- mu­nity must also do their part through be­ing ac­tive in the lo­cal govern­ment, go­ing to school and not par­tic­i­pat­ing in il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties such as sell­ing drugs.

At the end of the rally, the group formed a cir­cle and sev­eral Elk­ton po­lice of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing Chief Matthew Don­nelly held hands while Brown spoke.

“We must do our part,” Brown said to the group out­side of Elk­ton Town Hall.

Af­ter the rally, Bishop said the next step is to meet with Don­nelly.

“We’re go­ing to have a meet­ing with the chief about chang­ing some things,” Bishop said.

She said the meet­ing will ad­dress di­ver­si­fy­ing the po­lice de­part­ment as well as ways to in­volve the po­lice with the com­mu­nity.

Elk­ton res­i­dent Imani Gol­phin said she par- tic­i­pated in the protest to show her sup­port.

“I’m just here for unity in the com­mu­nity and for peace for all the fam­ily mem­bers who lost their lives from gun vi­o­lence or po­lice vi­o­lence,” Gol­phin said.

Kathy Wat­son, an Elk­ton res­i­dent, said she came to the protest be­cause her two daugh­ters wanted to par­tic­i­pate and she wanted to make sure they were OK.

“I think it’s good to bring aware­ness to po­lice bru­tal­ity,” Wat­son said. “All lives mat­ter.”

She said she hopes the demon­stra­tion will bring about “some kind of change” and that po­lice of­fi­cers be­come more in­volved with the com­mu­nity and vice versa.

North East res­i­dent Adri­enne Demby said she be­lieved the mes­sage of the peace­ful rally came across.

“We want to reach some form of unity in the com­mu­nity,” she said.

Prior to Sun­day night’s protest, Don­nelly said he had no prob­lem with the march.

“It’s their First Amend- ment right to protest, to ex­press their views,” he said. “As long as it stays peace­ful, there is no prob­lem.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

Black Lives Mat­ter sup­port­ers held a protest in down­town Elk­ton on Sun­day night.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

Black Lives Mat­ter sup­port­ers gather in down­town Elk­ton on Sun­day night.

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