Mount Calvary Baptist Church hosts peace march to commemorate Juneteenth
NILES, Mich. -- In the midst of nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, there were also celebrations nationwide commemorating Juneteenth Friday.
Children and adults, black and white, all united under one message: Black Lives Matter.
“This is what America looks like, all types of people.”
This was the first peace march held by Mount Calvary Baptist Church and pastors say they felt inspired to do it in light of rallies across the nation.
“This is kind of a combination of some of the marches that have been going on across the country, but we wanted to use Juneteenth to do ours,” said Pastor Bryant Bacon, Mount Calvary Baptist Church.
Police officers were in attendance too, and more so to stand in solidarity rather than monitor crowds.
“I think they want to show their support to the community and shows us that – and again, we’re not against the police, this is not a rally against the police,” said Bacon.
While Niles hasn’t seen any riots, participants say they want to use this opportunity to enact change in their community — peacefully.
“We want to be proactive, not reactive because there’s a lot of hurt feelings,” said Lawana Wortham.
As Americans recognize the official enactment of the emancipation proclamation, participants here believe that even though the past has been difficult, we’re on the way to lasting change.
“The suppression of African Americans has been so significant and it’s lasted so long that it’s almost invisible to people who don’t experience that kind of oppression,” said John T. Boston II.
The march started at the church and ended at Niles City Hall where multiple speakers addressed the crowd.