Unity Walk Aims for Togetherness
One coastal radio station takes action to unite the Gulf Coast community and law enforcement. News 25’s Kendra Turley gives us a look inside this afternoon’s unity rally in Gulfport.
President of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Blue Team Kristen Alan said, “There are several officers who won’t be walking through their doors at the end of their shift and it’s definitely been felt here along South Mississippi amongst the law enforcement community.”
JZ 94.5 organized a unity rally to take a stand against violence and divisiveness in lieu of all the recent police officer involved shootings across the country. Unity rally organizer Tabari Daniels said, “This is the time where it’s like let’s not wait until something bad happens for us to have a dialogue, for us to have a talk. Just because we disagree doesn’t mean it has to be disrespect.”
Gulfport city officials, Biloxi city officials, various organizations and representatives from law enforcement agencies all across the Coast mingled with locals of all ages.
Hundreds of people marched from Jones Park to the steps of police headquarters to deliver a message of peace and unity throughout the community. Those who marched used the time as an opportunity to learn more about the people surrounding them. Laura Juno with Citizens of Mississippi Militia said, “Talking to a lady that was here from Syria. She’s been here for 23 years and she was bragging on our country and how good the people of America are because she’s seen a lot of bad in her country. And talking about how we’ve got to fight for peace.”
Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania said, “A lot of good conversations. A little girl I walked with over here was even talking about her desire to eventually become a police officer.”
Organizers of the rally hope more events like this prevent tragedies from occurring along the Gulf Coast. “I hope that everyone walks away with a better sense of both sides of the fence and peace,” said Alan. Daniels said, “Our community is okay. Our community is good. We’re moving in the right direction.”