Black Lives Matter rally seeks justice for Jeremy McDole and others
Police officers swarmed the blocks – and sat atop buildings including the New Castle County Courthouse – Monday night during the Black Lives Matter rally.
However, they remained on the sidewalks as peaceful protesters marched down King St.
Right at six o’clock, Keandra McDole – the sister of 28-year-old Jeremy “Bam Bam” McDole who was shot and killed by police officers last September – took to the microphone.
"Justice for who? Bam Bam. Justice for who? Everyone," McDole chanted.
Keandra and her mother Phyllis both wore t-shirts and helped hold a large banner calling for “Justice for Jeremy McDole” as they marched down King Street.
Participants in the peaceful Black Lives Matter rally marched several blocks before congregating just across from the New Castle County courthouse to hear from several speakers.
Executive Director of Complexities of Color Donald Morton was among the speakers, and turned to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I don’t condone violence but check this out: it was King – the most nonviolence person alive – who said violence was the language of the unheard. That whenever people don’t feel heard then there is something that is about to happen," Morton said. "And all I’m saying is, Black Lives Matter.”
Morton added marching is not the end, but a means to an end.
With that in mind, members of the Tabernacle Full Gospel Baptist Church urged African Americans to join the Wilmington police force and handed out applications to do so.
Morton is also calling for review of the state’s police bill of rights, and advocating for a civilian review board to help hold police officers accountable.
Many community members like Patrice Gibbs are fed up with police shootings of African Americans.
Gibbs pointed out that the gunman who killed 5 police officers in the Dallas is dead, but the officers involved in last week’s shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota aren’t even behind bars.
"Their killers are on vacation," Gibbs said. "You’ve got people who say, well, they took their guns and they took them off the force and sent them home. But they’re not in jail. They’re on leave, they’re on paid vacation. You look at these things and, yeah, no justice no peace."
And some community members like Hope Bellamy were not impressed by the rally. Bellamy says more attention should be focused on local problems.
"It seems like when it’s something three, four states away we can have demonstrations such as this," he said. "But when things on a local level transpire, why don’t we have it like this then? When there’s a shooting on a street if we can all congregate to the block of that shooting, we can do more to help the police."