Peaceful Demonstrations Bring Healing and Unity in Social Circle
SOCIAL CIRCLE, Georgia – Over 100 individuals descended on Calvary Temple Sunday, June 7, 2020, to participate in a Peace Walk birthed in the heart and mind of Cassie Pitts.
Following the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, Miss Pitts decided to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather, Johnny Crowley, who was active in peaceful civil rights protests in the area in the 1970s.
Pitts had grown up hearing her grandfather’s stories and actions surrounding the oppression of African Americans during his youth. She heard her mother tell of the pain, frustration, and anger that he had experienced.
Feeling the same way some 50 years later, Pitts decided to organize a march in protest of the treatment of African Americans by both citizens and police officers. She was offended, hurt, in pain, frustrated, angry, and wanted to do something.
So, she and her mother Connie Wright, decided to pool their influence and organize a march in Social Circle.
However, as Wright became more involved, she felt it important that this was not to be a [march], but a [walk] – a Peace Walk. A peace walk that not only protested the recent acts of violence against black lives, but aimed at bringing peace and unity out of that violence and oppression.
And, on this day, that’s exactly what happened. After a one-mile walk down Cherokee Drive, participants stopped and gathered in front of the Social Circle Police Department.
Organizers spoke, participants chanted, expressed anger, frustration, and sorrow.
Then, something special happened – Social Circle Police Chief Will Brinkley was invited to speak. And after conveying his own feelings about George Floyd’s death, and the hard stance his police department has against racism, he took a step few police chiefs have taken.
“I, the Police Chief and we, the entire Police Force of Social Circle – will serve as examples by kneeling in silence with you.
We kneel in silence to show solidarity in condemning the acts of violence that killed George Floyd.
We kneel in silence to honor Black Lives that have been taken senselessly.
We kneel in silence to show respect for their lives.
We kneel in silence to exhibit sorrow for their deaths.
I invite anyone who is compelled to do so – to kneel with me now.”
With heat, humidity, and rain falling – the only thing oppressive this day was the weather. Exercising their right to assemble and speak, over 100 individuals including blacks, whites, people of color – and the Social Circle Police Department – all joined in a step of healing by kneeling together for 9 minutes.