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The City of Jackson, Mayor Dobies releases statement on planned protests

Posted at 12:43 PM, Jun 01, 2020

JACKSON, Mich. — The City of Jackson and Mayor Derek Dobies is releasing statements regarding protests planned in the city.

The City of Jackson, along with the Jackson Police Department, said it is aware of peaceful protests planned for Monday afternoon near the Jackson County Courthouse and at the intersection of Martin Luther King Junior Drive and High Street.

The city said city officials have talked with organizers about how the protests can be held safely and encourages residents to safely demonstrate.

The city said it acknowledges the planned protests are reactions to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the "broader issue of racial injustice."

"I feel the incident in Minneapolis was an injustice and public protests are certainly in order," said Police Chief Elmer Hitt. "We just ask protesters to demonstrate in a peaceful manner while treating all with respect and dignity."

The city said the Jackson Police Department is preparing to have officers near these protests to make sure they happen safely.

“I believe Jackson’s strength rests in our diversity,” said Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies. “We are an inclusive, tolerant community that is stronger together. We can show the rest of the state what meaningful dialogue and constructive action can look like.”

Mayor Dobies released a full statement in regards to the protest:

Our nation is in pain over the death of George Floyd, and the murder of so many other unarmed black men to police brutality.

Like many others, I am heartbroken, angered, frustrated, saddened and so many other emotions. Not only over the unjust stream of correlating death and abuse, but by the ignorant and often overtly bigoted responses to these protests by supposed allies and elected leaders.

I want to be clear: these protests are a reaction to the inherent bias and systemic racism that has persisted to intentionally neglect, suppress, and persecute populations of Americans for generations.

Maybe now more people will realize why Colin Kaepernick took a knee on the field: to protest the racially bias environment that allows both Sheriff Rand to stay in office while joking about "stepping on [black peoples] necks like we used to" in front of deputies in his office, and Derek Chauvin to actually put his knee on the back of black man's neck and murder him - all while three other officers watched it unfold, without intervening.

That's why I support the right of my brothers and sisters to peacefully protest.

If this makes you uncomfortable, good. This should be uncomfortable. But until we are able to openly talk about racial injustice and call a spade a spade, nothing will change. The protests are a conversation that demands action. It is incumbent on us to participate at this moment, and not be spectators.

That being said, a number of residents and businesses have contacted me in the last 24 hours about concerns about upcoming protests scheduled in Jackson, and riots that have happened in other communities. I've contacted the organizers of the protest today and they informed me the protests will be peaceful.

I believe in encouraging peaceful protests, and to listen earnestly to their message. These protests don't give voice to the voiceless. Everyone has a voice. These protests are trying to make people listen to those voices that have long been ignored, whitewashed, and silenced.

Those who chose to destroy property and cultivate violence ultimately distract from those voices. I am optimistic that we can avoid riots and destruction other cities have witnessed so that more people can listen to the critical message of these protests - and change themselves, the laws, and the system.

I believe Jackson's strength rests in our diversity. We are an inclusive, tolerant community that is stronger together. We can show the rest of the state what meaningful dialogue and constructive action can look like.

Always we must meet hate with love; violence with justice.
Be Powerful. Be Persistent.

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