JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Reverend Jesse Jackson visited the Greater Macedonia Baptist Church on Jacksonville’s Northwest side Tuesday evening. There, he helped faith leaders and local activists to plan a march in Brunswick for Ahmaud Arbery.
“Blacks and whites and reds and yellows and browns, we will win, we will learn to live together, brothers and sisters,” Jackson said.
The “Justice for Ahmaud” march will be held on Thursday outside the Glynn County Courthouse. The push comes after Kevin Gough, a defense attorney for a defendant charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery, expressed opposition to Black pastors coming to support the family during the trial.
“The Arbery family is hurting. They’re hurting. Grieving! And here’s an attorney on Wednesday that says ‘we don’t want no Black pastors there’ to be there for the parents? I mean, how insensitive can you come?” said Kingdom Christian Center’s elder pastor Charles W. Oliver.
Oliver will be at the events Thursday in Brunswick, traveling from Seattle. He’s got two sons and says one of them could’ve easily been in Arbery’s shoes.
“A modern time lynching, that’s what it was,” Oliver added.
Transformative Justice Coalition founder Barbara Arnwine says now is the time to act.
“We all know those friends and relatives who say ‘if I had been there when MLK was there,’ ‘if I had been there when Rosa Parks,’ ‘if I had been there when Emmett Till, you know what I would’ve done.’ And we all have heard that, but this is our Emmett Till moment. This is our Rosa Parks moment!” she exclaimed.
Organizers plan to surround the courthouse with a human prayer chain Thursday morning. That afternoon, Jackson will lead a march.
For Oliver, traveling near or far makes no difference. It’s about bringing on change.
“You stand your ground. That’s the only way things change. If nobody stands up, it would never change,” he said.
Jackson said Tuesday it’s not just Black pastors and faith leaders that are invited. He invites everyone to come out and show support Thursday in Brunswick.
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