Saturday's Black Lives Matter Protest Attracts A Church Crowd
Around 100 people gathered at 5 p.m. Saturday on the MKT Nature and Fitness Trail for "Let Freedom Ring: A March for Black Lives."
Brittany Hughes, the regional organizer for Missouri Faith Voices, one of the event's sponsors, said this event’s appeal may look different from other similar protests due to the faith-based nature of the protest. The event was organized by several local churches.
"Regardless of what you believe, how your ideologies are different from someone else’s, you certainly all inherently believe about how folks should be treated," Hughes said. "We are asking people to examine what your faith says about this moment and how you are in a line with the thing that you believe."
Apart from Black and white people, several Asian Americans also attended this event. They brought a sign with them saying "Asian Americans for Black Lives Dignity."
"This event, specifically, is about bringing all that energy to Columbia, talking about our history, and what’s happening on the street in Columbia, Missouri, in terms of racism," the Rev. Brad Bryan said while standing near the bridge at Stewart Road, where Black janitor James Scott was lynched in 1923. "We start here because it is a lynching site."
The Rev. C.W. Dawson Jr. gave a speech before the march began. He motivated the crowd by saying, "Justice is marching on. Freedom is marching on. Truth is marching on." He won cheers and applause from the crowd.
Bryan told the crowd this protest is not a peaceful protest. People kept shouting "Blacks lives matter" loudly while walking along the street. Bryan wanted the crowd to be disruptive.
Protesters marched to Francis Quadrangle and city hall. At city hall, the Rev. Sarah Klaassen of Rock Bridge Christian Church asked demonstrators to repeat after her.
"City decisions are moral decisions," she and the crowd said. "The city budget is a moral budget."
The protesters also marched to the Boone County Courthouse, the post office and the Columbia Police Department.
Pack Matthews, one of the attendants of the march, said he had mixed feelings about the event.
"We’ve been proud of people coming out and getting together here," he said. However, he said the events that brought them together were unfortunate.