Hands Up, Guns Down rally draws diverse crowd | Arkansas Blog

Friday, July 8, 2016

Hands Up, Guns Down rally draws diverse crowd

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 3:50 PM

click to enlarge TOM COULTER

Roughly 100 people gathered on the steps of the State Capitol at noon to protest the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. The Hands Up, Guns Down rally, which has no affiliation with Little Rock's Black Lives Matter movement, was organized and led by three college students: Christian Taylor of Henderson State University, Cody Jones of the University of Central Arkansas and Michelle Wallace of Pulaski Tech. After hearing about Castile's death, the three quickly organized the rally and spread the word through social media.

"I'm happy all these people were here, but I'm sad. My heart's hurting," Wallace said after the rally. "I don't know what to do to fix this problem, but I'm tired of seeing it."

Taylor began the rally by thanking the crowd and admonishing police brutality. "Nobody deserves to be gunned down in the street," he said. After finishing, Taylor let anyone come to the mic and speak. In between chants of "Black lives matter" and "We want justice," several people came up to the podium. The speakers ranged in age, but each delivered a similar message: Police must stop unjustly killing black men. Afterward, protesters joined hands in a prayer circle and sang "Amazing Grace."

click to enlarge ORGANIZERS: (From left) Cody Jones, Christian Taylor, and Michelle Wallace organized the rally in 24 hours. The three met while at Bryant High School. - TOM COULTER
  • ORGANIZERS: (From left) Cody Jones, Christian Taylor, and Michelle Wallace organized the rally in 24 hours. The three met while at Bryant High School.
Among the rally's speakers was LeRon McAdoo, a teacher at Central High, who called for an increase in police deescalation training and more definitive procedures regarding the police's standards of approach and use of deadly force. McAdoo told me afterwards that he is planning to form a Citizens Advisory Board to increase engagement between police and the community.

Wallace said while they believe in the Black Live Matter movement, Little Rock's chapter requires three-weeks notice to participate in events. After the shooting at a protest in Dallas last night, Taylor was relieved that today's protest remained peaceful throughout. The three were impressed by the crowd's diversity. 

"You don't have to be black to fight for black lives," Jones said. "You don't have to be discriminated against to fight for those who are."

Tags: , , , , , ,

Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

More by Tom Coulter

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas Supreme Court refuses to rehear invalidation of marijuana act

    The Arkansas Supreme Court today denied a request to rehear its decision invalidating Issue 7, the medical marijuana initiated act.
    • Nov 3, 2016
  • Former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel applauds Trump's EPA choice of climate change denier Scott Pruitt

    Dustin McDaniel gives the thumbs up to a man set to dismantle EPA regulations.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation