Black Lives Matter Meet up in Gulfport

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The stage is set for a peaceful Black Lives Matter meet up in Gulfport tomorrow. News 25’s Hank Davis has the details.
Tomorrow at 4 p.m., Jones Park will be the setting for a Black Lives Matter protest, part of a growing movement in light of the recent police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
While some Black Lives Matters gatherings have escalated, pitting police officers against protestors, organizers of the Gulfport meet up say that’s not the goal here.
The organizer’s behind the event hope that tomorrow Jones Park is filled with positivity and peaceful messages. Essence Canfield says the event was planned in hopes of unifying the community. Black, white, cop or civilian, she wants everyone to attend the meet up.
While the message she hopes to convey is one of peace, organizers tell News 25 that there are people opposing the event, even threatening violence if it occurs. Event Organizer Schwricka Keys said, “We are not here for violence or to protest against anyone, we are here for unity and that’s our purpose.”
An event page created on Facebook to invite community members to the meet up has gotten a lot of reaction, including the creation of another page dedicated to counter protesting the Black Lives Matter meet up. That page calls Black Lives Matter a violent movement and calls upon people to show up and keep Black Lives Matter out of Mississippi. Canfield’s husband, Daniel, believes that if everyone in attendance focuses on unity, the healing can begin. “We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it more, be open about it and try to handle it in a peaceful manner. Too many people are quick to be offended. You have to have an opened mind so to say. I like to say an open mind because if everyone has an open mind and a peaceful attitude, things get done.”

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Hank Davis was born and raised right here on the Gulf Coast. He graduated from Mississippi State University in 2014 with a communications degree, double majoring in journalism and public relations. During his time at MSU, Hank covered the news beat for the school's award-winning newspaper, The Reflector. He also worked as a media relations intern for Mississippi State's baseball program. When he isn't in the newsroom or out on a story, Hank spends most of his time on the water or with family and friends.He is excited to provide coverage to the people and the place he cares about most.