Last weekend the community came together in Gulfport for a Black Lives Matter meet-up, hoping to create a dialogue in regards to recent racial tension in America.
A small group, armed only with signs, prayer and hope, gathered at Jones Park this weekend for a peaceful protest against injustice and inequality. Essence Canfield, who helped organize this meet up, was relieved to finally have a chance to share the true message behind the Black Lives Matter movement.
Essence Canfield tells News 25, “I love when people try to understand what it is that we’re going through. Just because we say Black Lives Matter, it doesn’t mean that other lives don’t matter. It means we matter too. We matter also.”
Other groups also met at Jones Park, exercising their right to assemble, joining the discussion and letting their voices be heard.
Jeff Herring tells News 25, “There was a post on Facebook about it, so we just came down to make sure that everything was ok and there was no problem, and to get our word across that it’s not just Black Lives Matter, it’s All Lives Matter.”
Lea Campbell with Mississippi Rising Coalition was pleased to see the entire community come together in such a productive manner.
Lea Campbell tells News 25, “This is what it’s all about. Events like this bring people together, and get people talking, and get the discussion going. When we do come together, and talk and get to know one another, then we realize that our differences are few and our commonalities are many.”
Members of the Gulfport Police Department was also present at the gathering, actively taking part in the conversation.
Chief Leonard Papania tells News 25, “I think what was achieved here today was we clearly shown the identity of the coast. You know we have the ability to come together on issues we agree or disagree on, and do it in a peaceful manner.”