Black Lives Matter Gadsden holds peaceful march

Black Lives Matter Gadsden holds peaceful march
Gadsden chapter of Black Lives Matter met with counter protestors during a march (Source: WBRC: Dixon Hayes)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Gadsden chapter of Black Lives Matter has a new message and new demands for the city's leadership.

"No justice, no peace! No racist police!" marchers chanted as they left the YMCA parking lot.

A diverse group of people who said they were mainly speaking for Gadsden's young people, say those young people want an inclusionary community where everyone can be accepted.

A diverse group of people who said they were mainly speaking for Gadsden's young people, say those young people want an inclusionary community where everyone can be accepted.
A diverse group of people who said they were mainly speaking for Gadsden's young people, say those young people want an inclusionary community where everyone can be accepted. (Source: WBRC: Dixon Hayes)

They say the group has a new list of demands they believe the city council can legally enact on the city's level.

“The biggest message we just want to get across is, this is a community effort, this isn’t about one side or one way of living. It’s about creating a community where we can act together, love each other and really create a harmonious community for everyone,” said Black Lives Matter Gadsden member McKenzie Clark.

On the route of the 12 block march, which began on 2nd Street, then to Walnut, South 5th and Broad Streets before it ended at city hall, a group of counter protesters gathered at the Emma Sansom Confederate monument, they say to protect it.

Black Lives Matter Gadsden holds peaceful march
Black Lives Matter Gadsden holds peaceful march (Source: wbrc)

"They've been tearing  monuments down, one after another, they're not patriotic to begin with, everyone's been walking on eggshells, keeping their mouths shut for too long. It's time to make a stand," said Shawn Boggan, who drove from North Shelby County to join those gathered at the monument.

Black Lives Matter Gadsden promised the march would be non-violent and told marchers to ignore the counter protesters.

There were some heated exchanges, and some taunting from counter protesters that left a few of the marchers visibly upset, but the protest remained non-violent.

"No monuments are coming down today," shouted one of the counter protesters.

"Nobody cares!" a marcher shouted back.

Among the new demands, voiced by BLM Gadsden member Savannah Miles: renaming Forrest Avenue in Gadsden to "La Gray Boulevard," in honor of a longtime probation who was a champion of  Etowah County's troubled youth. It's believed to be named after Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who is also believed to be the first Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan.

Forrest is depicted on the base of the Emma Sansom monument.

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