An exercise in free assembly

Published 7:35 am Wednesday, June 24, 2020

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In late May, the nation was collectively shell-shocked when a video surfaced of George Floyd dying while in police custody as  Officer Dave Chauvin pressed a knee into his neck.

Since that incident, several law enforcement leaders have denounced the manner in which the officers in Minneapolis subdued Floyd. Those same sentiments were heard right here in our community as West Point Police Chief Donald Britt, Valley Police Chief Tommy Weldon, Lanett Police Chief Johnny Wood, Chambers County Sheriff Sid Lockhart and LaGrange Police Chief Lou Dekmar issued similar statements denouncing that type of policing and assuring our communities that is not how they operate.

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As if tensions were not already heightened, on June 12, closer to home in Atlanta, Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed while fleeing Atlanta police.

In response to both of these incidents and others, protests have popped up all around the country. The first local protest that we’re aware took place on Sunday when people gathered along Highway 29.

The protest we saw in Lanett was tiny compared to other cities across the state and country, but larger in heart and compassion.

People from all walks of life, all races and religions stood side by side — peacefully in the exercise of their first amendment rights. Cars passed by blowing their horns in support of the group protesting and not once did anyone say or do anything that would jeopardize what organizer Rev. Stanley Roberts was trying to accomplish.

Our only wish was that more of the community would have come out to show support and truly display ‘Strength Woven In.”