Community members along with the Coalition for Justice of Northwest Florida marched through the street of Ensley to show their frustration at the growing violence in their streets.
“We do not have to live under fear under the cloak of violence that is going on,” said Ellison Bennett. ‘In thirty-five days five Black people have been murdered.” We cannot sit silently by and allow this to happen.”
“The healing will only take place when we as a community come together and say no more violence,” sated Bennett. “There are people here who know who committed this double murder. They should come forth and tell the Sheriff who did this. We care about Black on Black crime; White on Black, White on white; we care what happens to our community,” he said. “We as a people must take a stand.”
“Martin Luther King once said that people should respect the wealth of human personality. And at that time, the issue was racism.,” said Rev. Hugh King. “But we can’t cry racism about everything now. We just have to be honest and acknowledge the lack of love and respect for one another.”
We owe it to the coming generation to prove that the greatest power there is spiritual power that is love. Love can overcome gravity. When there is corruption at the top it flows down and into the streets of violence. But the power of love can be the power that can transform our community. When the loss of a young Black man’s life occurs that is the loss of a generation.”
‘The first step to turning the problem around is to get involved,” said Captain David Alexander. If you say you are a citizen and are not involved, then you are denying yourself the rights of citizenship.” “The conversation has to go beyond where we are at now. When we know what’s going on in the community and refuse to say something we make ourselves hypocrites.” He said.
Other leaders present that spoke at the rally were Lumon May County Commissioner, Jerry McIntosh, Coalition for Justice, Pastor Rodney Jones, Rev. Blackwell, Sister Patricia Brown community member, Sister Jean Jackson community member, and Rev. Lee Middleton.
This is the first step towards taking back the community from the throws of violence. Organizations and ministers are encouraged to get involved to begin the strategy of keeping our neighborhood safe.