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: , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


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

  • Arkansas Times Recommends: The Travel Edition

    Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.
    • Aug 5, 2016
  • County responses to flawed felon data suggests eligible voters have been removed from rolls

    Earlier this summer, Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office passed along flawed data on Arkansas felons to county clerks. We contacted all 75 counties to see how they had decided to handle it. Their responses varied dramatically. In at least 17 counties, clerks took a "shoot first" approach, which almost certainly means eligible voters have been stripped of their rights.
    • Aug 4, 2016
  • Cotton talks Trump, fences and the Intelligence Committee

    Senator Tom Cotton spoke Tuesday at Little Rock's Political Animals Club luncheon. HE 
    • Aug 2, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Judge Griffen: Why black lives matter

    Another few words from Judge Wendell Griffen growing from the controversy over the sale of Black Lives Matter T-shirts at the state black history museum — removed by the administration and restored after protests from Griffen and others stirred by a story in the Arkansas Times:
    • Mar 13, 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
  • Judge anticipates punishment of lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

    Federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith issued a 32-page ruling yesterday indicating he contemplates punishment of 16 lawyers who moved a class action lawsuit against an insurance company out of his court to a state court in Polk County after a settlement had been worked out.
    • Apr 15, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation