Local activists promote peaceful Detroit protests

Local activists are working to keep protests peaceful in an around metro Detroit.

"It's a most unfortunate situation," said Rev. Wendall Anthony said of the Baltimore riot. "It is tragic." 

Anthony, a longtime religious leader and social activist shared his thoughts on Baltimore after a black man, Freddie Gray, died from an injury he allegedly received while in custody of the Baltimore police.

It is a situation some are asking if it could have been avoided.

"We still need to come together," Anthony said. "To how we can do community policing, demilitarizing of the police department and bring appropriate training to the case."

But closer to home in Inkster, the police beating of Floyd Dent brought out protesters but not violence.

Rev. Charles Williams II who organized this protest movement, explained why.

"When we march and demonstrate, folks have to be trained, educated and lastly folks have to be willing to follow," he said.

Williams believes the violence in Baltimore showcases what's missing in leadership.

"There's a lapse and void of community voice, clergy and leadership on the ground leading the effort," he said.

Both Williams and Anthony say it's crucial for people who want positive change to understand that violence will never help them achieve it.

"The tradition of Dr. MLK Jr. and any of those who came before us, have proven that non-violent direct action, civil disobedience does work," said Williams. "But when we tear up our own communities we hurt ourselves." 

That's why Anthony says he's promoting an event which fosters positive relationships between Detroit Police and citizens.

"This Saturday NAACP is planning 'Stops and Cops' which is open to public and open for young people," he said. "Detroit police are there to show people how we can do this together. Ten o'clock Saturday morning at the UAW 4 training center."

Williams says he holds weekly meeting to strategize on how to address issues like allegations of police brutality.

He believes successful demonstrations are about being prepared.

"We have had no issues of violence," Williams said. "Why, because of the work we have done before the issue happens, not just when the issue happens." 

For more information about Saturday's event: Detroit NAACP Hosts Stops and Cops, 10 a.m. May 2 at UAW Training Center, Detroit.

and the Historic King Solomon Baptist Church, 6100 14th St., Detroit, 10 a.m.

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