Black Lives Matter Marchers Hold Peaceful Protest In Shreveport
PEACEFUL PROTEST IN SHREVEPORT - It was a sunny and pleasant Sunday afternoon as hundreds of people gathered at the Shreveport SporTran intermodal bus terminal on Murphy Street to participate in a peaceful march organized by the Shreveport chapter of Black Lives Matter. Marchers began on Texas Avenue and headed to the Caddo courthouse in downtown Shreveport. The purpose of the march was in protest to the death of George Floyd who died while being detained by Minneapolis Police. A video of Floyd's arrest has gone viral and spurred mass protests across the country, some spinning out of control and becoming full-fledged riots.
But as for the protest in Shreveport, it started out peaceful and remained peaceful throughout. And there were no reports of incidents or arrests made. When the march reached the Caddo courthouse, several persons took the opportunity to speak often in emotional terms regarding George Floyd's death. Others took a more focused perspective, encouraging positive action such as voting in upcoming elections.
Among the speakers was Omari Ho Sang who is founder and organizing director of All Streets, All People Shreveport (ASAP-Shreveport), a group that focuses on crime, poverty, and inequity in education, and economic disparity.
"Because if it's okay for say a police officer to kill an unarmed person, the law permits it because of some technical aspect, then that's not okay. That means that law needs to be changed..." Omari Ho-Sang, ASAP-Shreveport
"Today is the beginning, this is day one," Ho Sang proclaimed. "We will march, protest and organize action for 45 days."
Local organizers are planning to hold events for the next 45 days, they've already set up a Facebook group called "45 Days of Action Shreveport". Omari Ho Sang spoke with Red River Radio News and explained what she and others hope these actions will achieve.
"To make sure that policies are being passed that impact our everyday lives," Ho Sang explained. "Because if it's okay for say a police officer to kill an unarmed person, the law permits it because of some technical aspect, then that's not okay. That means that law needs to be changed and the only way we can actually change that law is if we vote in the people who understand the experience and the pain enough to legislate in that way."
With so many demonstrations across the country turning violent, Omari Ho Sang was asked to explain what the Shreveport organizers are telling their participants in order to keep things peaceful and safe.
"When we're not peaceful we dissolve our power to get things done," Ho Sang explained. "We risk arrest, we risk brutality, we risk murder, we risk death, we risk disorder and chaos, it's played out across the nation. What today in Shreveport showed, in Shreveport, Louisiana- it showed that we can do this peacefully. So let's keep it up."
(Portions of protest audio courtesy of Heliopolis Shreveport News and Culture Facebook Page)