One of the Atlanta’s Black Lives Matters (BLM) group of leaders at the beginning of the Monday, July 18 “closed” meeting they requested with Mayor Kasim Reed and Police Chief George Turner. City staff and invited community groups also attended along with the moderator, Al Vivian, the son of Civil Rights icon C.T. Vivian .
After getting off to a “rocky” start, these BLM leaders eventually gave their list of four primary demands. The Mayor agreed to review the demands and get back to them.
Over twenty people spoke in addition to the BLM leaders. Several speakers admittedly spoke through their anger and expressed their interest in helping to formulate solutions to: end over-policing, deal with police stress, develop a making our communities safer, building a positive line of communication with local officers, and how to weed out the bad officers.
One speaker, Valerie Barker, suggested use of the term “Black-on-Black crime” no longer be used. She explained, it is a form of oppression. Since we do not use the terms: White-on-White, Asian-on-Asian, Hispanic-on-Hispanic, or Jewish-on-Jewish crime, etc.; there is no logical reason to use the term “Black-on-Black crime”.
Another speaker, Wakeem Ali, a military veteran who looks to be in his mid-twenties explained, “We need solutions so my generation does not have to worry about the what the police and others my own age will do to me.” Wakeem explained that this is no way to live and we heard the frustration in his voice. He went on to say, “In 2016, we should not be marching. I brought the Bloods and Cripts together to end violence.” And, despite the good he does, he is still unsafe living Atlanta.
Well, a meeting of this magnitude would not be complete, it seems, without hecklers. There were a few who were purposely loud and rude. I could not believe the level of disrespect. It was very embarrassing.
Through it all, the moderator, the Mayor and all in attendance have open a line of communication that needs to have specific regular planning sessions until we formulate, implement, monitor, tweak, maintain and improve as needed a realistic strategic where we all win, feel safe, get equal justice more often times than not, and lead the nation in police and citizen communication.
More appropriate now than ever is the question Rodney King asked, “Can we all just get along?”
This post will be updated soon with additional information or another post that includes the four specific BLM demands from this two-hour meeting. So, check back soon.