Last week, I attended the live town hall meeting, Atlanta Unite!, held at The Center for Civil and Human Rights. It was needed to review and discuss recent protests by Black Lives Matter (BLM) as tensions flare over police shootings in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis. Their recent attempts to block local interstates created both cheers and criticisms.
While many are offering their opinions on what needs to be done, it is clear they do not see the parallels between these protests and those of the Civil Rights movement over 50 years ago. WSB TV 2 did an good job selecting film clips of speakers, protests and demands from then and now. Instead of police dogs and water hoses of the 1960’s, we have too many cities with police in riot gear and tanks manhandling peaceful protesters.
Note for future Atlanta Unite! Town Halls: 1) Include women panelists and 2) Commit to provide continuous monthly coverage until the local BLM issues/police shootings of unarmed Black men, etc. are resolved. (Remember the origin of Night Line?)
Because Atlanta Police and Georgia State Troopers were able to handle well over 10,000 protesters who seemingly wandered aimlessly around the city, there were less than 20 arrests on any given day. The Atlanta Unite! Town Hall was historical, informative, and allowed us to see that open dialogue can bring us closer to solutions. Not having the much needed conversation about race in Atlanta and America has brought us to this place. Our young people, BLM, are just as passionate about their cause(s) as our Civil Rights leaders were. The numerous BLM groups are no different than our numerous Civil Rights organization who usually worked together to shed the light on injustices and get laws changed.well, we are at that same Crossroad. So, we need our old school leaders to seek to understand BLM and help them. For leaders and others to criticize these energetic youth is counterproductive. When we work together, we listen to each other and work out a strategic plan and buckle down to make it happen, step by step by step.
Because Atlanta is home to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights movement, we have to step up to the plate and show the rest of the nation: it must be done, it will be done, and done peacefully.
Will you help??
“Together, we are stronger”, by Hillary Clinton.
“Be the change you want to see”, by Nelson Mandela.