JONESBORO, Ark. – A peaceful march and protest by a local group who want to end discrimination was joined by dozens and possibly over 100 Saturday, with many thousand watching live on the NEA Report Facebook page.
The group hoped to learn, raise awareness, and ask important questions about treatment of the black community by law enforcement. However, unlike many demonstrations seen nationwide, the Jonesboro group worked and walked, literally, with Jonesboro Police Department from Main Street to the station on Caraway Road.
Over 7,600 tuned in live to the stream of the entire march, with close to 40,000 reached by the post before it was finished according to Facebook metrics.
The group’s organizer, Walter Moody, said he hoped to organize more events and peaceful gatherings. He said he felt like some of the negative rumors swirling on Facebook had hurt the turnout, mentioning specifically talk about an “armed march,” but the situation could not have been more peaceful Saturday.
Jonesboro police Sgt. Cassie Brandon said the gathering was great for community relationship building because it created a direct dialogue between officers and residents who might have a distrust or unfamiliarity with the police.
Many officers spoke to the gathering at Jonesboro police at the conclusion of the march, even simulating a traffic stop for the crowd. All the while, a white father, a black mother, and their beautiful child ran in the meadow next to the police station with the hope in the air that someday, racial boundaries will no longer exist.
(All photos and video taken by Stan Morris | NEA Report. They may not be reproduced or reused without written permission)