Mary Sheffield, Detroit rappers and activists speak at peace rally following weekend protests

After a tumultuous weekend of protests downtown, Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield partnered with community leaders and activists Monday in a rally calling for peaceful dialogue. 

"I hear you. I feel for you. And it is ok to be upset and to be angry," Sheffield said Monday at the rally. Dozens gathered at the Detroit Organization of Black Associations on Detroit's west side not only to honor the life of George Floyd but to demand change. 

"What we've witnessed the death of a human being was a lynching, a modern-day lynching. It pulled back the scab of so many social issues," congresswoman Brenda Lawrence said. "And we will not be silent, we will keep marching and I'm with you 100 percent."

Thousands gathered downtown and in cities across the U.S. over the weekend in solidarity to protest racial injustices and police brutality. Many of the peaceful protests ended in clashes with the police, some leading to arrests or even violence - though many of those arrested this weekend downtown were not Detroit residents. Those at the rally here today want that message heard. 

"We're going to fight for Black lives, we're going to fight for peace but we're not going to burn our home down. If you don't pay taxes here, if you don't own property here, if you don't have a Black man or a Black daughter walking these streets then put down that rock. You cannot destroy anything here," said protester Tray Little. 

"You can't just be out tearing up stuff and burning down stuff. You've got to know what you want, you've got to not be afraid to stand up and speak for what you want," said K-Deezy, rapper and community activist. 

These folks are also hoping to calm tensions between Detroiters and police and are urging everyone to use their voices to advocate change, and also not to lose momentum. 

"Let's support our police, they're not bad people. Let's support them," said Horatio Williams from the Horatio Williams Foundation. 

"Don't get it twisted. We're here for the fight but we've got to do it organized," K-Deezy said. 

"We can rally all we want but if we don't get people in office that have the courage to tackle the system of oppression in this country, we are wasting our time," Sheffield said.