FEATURED PHOTO: BILLY SHARP, PRESIDENT URBAN LEAGUE OF GREATER CLEVELAND GUILD
Cleveland19.com, By Michelle Nicks, Posted August 28th 2020
A group of concerned citizens from Cleveland are set to arrive in the nation’s capital by bus and by car on Friday to march on Washington, D.C.
Tens of thousands of people from all over the country are expected to converge near the Lincoln Memorial to take a stand and demand racial justice.
Friday is the 57th anniversary of the historic “March on Washington,” led by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King.
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Stitt, the Pastor of St. Peter’s A.M.E. Zion Church said, “They’ve done a lot in these past few years to take us backwards, and we are tied of it and what we want to say today is enough is enough.”
“Enough is enough.”
The group standing behind Stitt said, “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now.”
It’s expected that about 100 Cleveland area residents would take part in the rally with the theme, “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks… and Your Bullets Out of Our Bodies.”
The trip was put together by the National Action Network, the NAACP of Greater Cleveland and the Urban League of Greater Cleveland GUILD.
Many in the group said events they believe are inexcusable led them to take action.
The police shooting of a Black man seven times in his back in front of his children by Kenosha, Wisconsin and the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer are examples given by the group.
Billy Sharp, the President of the Urban League of Greater Cleveland GUILD said, “When you can watch on TV a black man getting shot in the back seven times. When you can watch a black man with a knee on his neck, that’s right in your face. Before you heard rumors, now it’s in your face.”
Retired law enforcement officers with decades of experience right here in Cleveland are also speaking out.
Bruce Shields, former law enforcement and corrections officer, said, “In the 70′s they were hanging us inside the jail saying we were committing suicide. Now we’ve got cameras on the street and we can see exactly what’s going on. It’s been going on for years. This has not just started.”
Marvin Cross, who rose to the ranks of a Commander during his decades with the Cleveland Police Department tells 19 News, “There are good white officers and good black officers. There is bad in everything. But until good officers start speaking out against the bad, everyone’s going to get blamed.”
That’s why this group will be in the nation’s capital continuing what they say the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King started.
They also say they’ll demand changes in federal laws.
The group from Cleveland that traveled to Washington will march in honor of Michael Pipkins who died from a police choke hold in December of 1992. Pipkins was arrested for grand theft of a vehicle. He was held face down in the ground while an officer applied a choke hold. When other officers arrived Pipkins was unconscious, thrown in the back of a police car and then into a holding cell while he was still unconscious. By the time Pipkins was taken to the hospital it was too late. The Cleveland Police Department officer was never charged, even though the coroner ruled the choke hold caused his death.
One woman told 19 News, “We have to make this a federal mandate that they remove these choke holds.”
The group said they want to continue the work of Dr. King.
They plan to be peaceful, but they said they’re demanding change.