1000+ march against anti-black racism in twin cities
BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -- At least one thousand protesters from the twin cities of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph marched for Black Lives Matter in what is likely one of the biggest protests in the county's history Saturday afternoon.
Speeches from key speakers before the march included a passionate declaration from Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad, in between statements from St. Joseph Mayor Mike Garey and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) as well.
“If I had to say, as a physician, why America is not great at this time, it’s because she has a bad case of white supremacy,” Muhammad said.
“She has a bad case of racism.”
Activist Gwen Swanigan, founder of local advocacy group Society Harmonizing Against Racial Profiling (SHARP) said the two-and-a half mile march was meant to also call out the history of racism within Berrien County as well.
“What we’re trying to do is make the twin cities the twin cities. That’s what we’re called. The bridge is supposed to unite us but it actually divides us, so that’s why we’re going to walk over the bridge back into Benton Harbor.”
The march itself and vigil afterward remained peaceful, with local police departments on hand offering protection and traffic escorting for the crowd across Bicentennial Bridge.