After the recent killing of policemen and two black men one in Louisiana and one in Minnesota, around 250 people of all races and backgrounds marched through the Quad-Cities to denounce the violence. I was there to witness and follow the protest as it began at the Rock Island Police Department, crossed the Centennial Bridge and ended at the Davenport Police Department.
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For the full story: The Quad City Times
By Thomas Geyer and Anis Shakirah Mohd Muslimin
With shouts of “black lives matter,” “hands up, don’t shoot” and “no justice, no peace,” an estimated 250 people of all races and backgrounds marched through the Quad-Cities on Friday to denounce the killing of two black men by police this week, one in Louisiana and one in Minnesota.
The tone of the march was set even before it began when Daniel Teague of Grace City Church, Moline, and the leader of Boots on the Ground, told the crowd: “We will not turn this into Dallas.”
Anyone bent on provoking violence, Teague said, “can go back to your car.”
“We need unity,” he told the crowd. “We need solidarity, we need peace, we need justice.” But above all, Teague said, “we need change.”
The march began at the Rock Island Police Department, crossed the Centennial Bridge and ended at the Davenport Police Department.
Chris Whitt, a political science professor at Augustana College in Rock Island, said he was happy with the diversity he saw in the crowd.
“Is everybody here black?” he shouted to the crowd when it gathered in a parking lot across 4th Street from the Davenport Police Department. “No,” the crowd responded. “Is everybody here white?” he asked. “No,” the crowd yelled.
“We’re here because we respect humanity,” Whitt said. “When black people are killed, I hurt. When white people are killed, I hurt. When civilians are killed, I hurt. When police are killed, I hurt.”
“A life is a life,” he said. “Until we resemble what we see today, people of all backgrounds respecting life, until that day comes, we have to shout to all people that black Lives matter. Because obviously too many people don’t think that those (black) lives matter.
Claire Waterman, 20, of Davenport said she came to the event to support the Black Lives Matter movement. She added that she wanted to be involved in the cause.
“We don’t hate cops, we just want justice,” said Lacindra Spears, 34, of Davenport. “I don’t want to be a mother standing over a casket.”
The Rev. Dwight Ford, pastor of Grace City Church, told the crowd before the march began that if the nation does not work for change to ensure that all people have opportunity and justice, “We will all perish as fools.”
At the end of the march, Ford told the crowd, “Some will tell you that you’re here because you hate cops. Some will tell you you are anarchists.” The crowd shouted “no” to both comments.
“There comes a time when you have to take a stand,” he said, adding that all black people want, “is to be treated as full citizens.”
Quad-City activist Tracy White, a member of the Q-C Empowerment Network, said that Friday’s march was one of solidarity. “We’re here to share our concern, share our love, and share our will to say things have got to change.
“We can start change in our community,” White said.
Henry Marquard, of Bettendorf, director of government relations for the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce, said he was marching because it was time to bring to the fore the issues of inequality and a lack of opportunity for too many people.
Rock Island Alderman Kate Hotle said she was marching because “there are people in the community who are hurting, and they’re hurting for a reason and we can make a difference.”
Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski said that in the midst of mourning for the officers killed and wounded in Dallas, Davenport police, “always want to safeguard the rights of our community members and we encourage them to voice their opinions peacefully. We will also continue to make sure they are safe while doing so and we will ensure the safety of our entire community.”