HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Friday evening, hundreds of people marched together to show unity against violence and to remember the lives lost in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas.
Many viewed the march as the first step in a long journey. “But the reality is this is progress, this is change, and as much as we praise Martin Luther King, and as much as we praise the Civil Rights movement of yesteryear, we understand that all steps towards the end goal are steps," says Afu Okosun, a local leader of the Black Lives Matter movement.
People from all walks of life joined the procession from Gateway Greenway Park to the Huntsville Police HQ on Wheeler Avenue. “We want to have a unified community that supports our fallen police officers, we want a unified community that supports others with other causes and I think that’s very important to all of us," says Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.
Dechelle Robinson and Kentrell Thomas decided they didn't want to just be social media warriors and put their foot to the pavement. “It was time to get out and make a change, to make a difference," says Kentrell Thomas.
“No one has the exact answer, so when you see someone post something and say 'let’s do this', if you say 'no,' it’s like, am I really fighting or am I just saying that I want to fight for something. So I thought if I didn’t come today that I wasn’t really standing for something I believed in," says Dechelle Robinson.
Thomas says the beauty wasn't what made them different, but what brought this crowd together. “You have black people, you have white people, you have all different races out here. Everybody is fighting for the same cause, everybody just wants peace," he says.
The crowd followed the mile long march into the parking lot of the Huntsville Police Headquarters, to below the shadow of the Fallen Officer Monument. Beyond the words shared by Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray upon their arrival, a hug from an unknown man in the crowd to the Chief and Sheriff showed more than words could justify.