On Sunday May 31st at 5pm two separate groups plan to assemble at Battle Park in Rocky Mount.
One group asking for no more preferential treatment for city leaders and holding the corrupt accountable is planning to assemble at the Falls Rd entrance to Battle Park. This groups flyer states that everyone matters and they want to stop preferential treatment for our city leaders referring to Mayor Pro Tem Andre Knight not paying his light bill for 17 years, grants given to councilman Blackwell and Mayor Pro Tem Knight and $1600 racked up in per diem meals unauthorized by the city for the City Manager Rochelle Small - Toney.
The other group headed by Cooper Blackwell, Councilman Reuben Blackwell's son, plans to hold a protest at the confederate monument at Battle Park which has been a hot topic in the city for years. Blackwell states "The Black Action Committee of Rocky Mount stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in Minneapolis and across the country". His poster is hash tagged with #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd, #BlackLivesMatter,
Yesterday Blackwell stated that the "Black Action Committee" was forming the protest and in a different post late last night it states "ROCKY MOUNT YOUTH ORGANIZE TO HOST RALLY IN HONOR OF BLACK LIVES "
No one has come forward to take ownership of forming the rally at the entrance regarding the city leaders. However, many have speculated stating that the poster was created by the Black Action Committee of Rocky Mount headed by Blackwell. Blackwell posted on his Facebook page that it was created by "white supremacist's" trying to attack his movement and confuse the people. He also stated in a comment "We have names of the white supremacists, they’ll be revealed in court, and I’ll eventually release some evidence ive been pulling together since October 2018. Stay tuned!"
When Fighting Crime reached out to city leaders about if either group had a permit as required by the City of Rocky Mount we were unable to get an answer. However, two leaders we spoke to did say that if the protest turn to violence, looting and such the organizer would be charged with "inciting a riot" which holds serious consequences.
When we asked law enforcement about the expected protest the answer was "Chief Robinson was handling it"
One of Blackwell's supporters, Darryl Richardson wanted to have the protest near Walmart so they could steal stuff. Blackwell soon responded that it was not his purpose to do such. That he was creating a movement to get businesses to come here, not destroy them.
Many have voiced their opinions about both the protest and the rally on our Facebook page.
FROM COOPER BLACKWELL:
ROCKY MOUNT YOUTH ORGANIZE TO HOST RALLY IN HONOR OF BLACK LIVES
When: Sunday May 31, 2020 at 5 pm
Where: Confederate Monument off of Falls Road
The tragic murder of George Floyd has traumatized the Black community across the country, again. We are watching as protests mirror the pain and grief that has become familiar to us all. We are tired, we are hurt, and we are angry but we are not silent. The Black Action Committee of Rocky Mount stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in Minneapolis and across the country. “Tomorrow’s gathering will be our call for justice; starting with the conviction of ex-officer Derrick Chauvin. It’s up to us, the youth, to stand up for the integrity of our community.” - Patrick Battle, Committee
“Systemic racism has plagued America in many ways and has devalued black lives in America in a way unfamiliar to any other race. We have seen it play out in youth unemployment rates among people of color that approach 25 percent or more; in the enormous disparity between total wealth in white versus African-Americans households; in separate and unequal systems of public elementary and secondary education; in enormous racial gulfs in post-secondary educational achievement.” -Cooper Blackwell, South Rocky Mount Citizen
There’s a movement happening! We want to use that fuel to spark a union in our home town. We have seen the impact of racism in many cities across the nation following the deaths of young African-American men during encounters with police - when deep seated fears within our communities come to the forefront, and our fortunate that this has not touched our city. Our love for Rocky Mount and disdain for white supremacy has encouraged us to look into the racial inequities we have here in Nash and Edgecombe county, and to gather to uplift our community. Therefore, we have organized a peaceful protest in front of the Confederate Monument off of Falls Road on Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 5 p.m. This protest is a call for introspection and a call to action. We must do better. We can and we will. Join us.