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Rally for Justice in Flint draws small crowd with big message

Community members call for an end to systemic racism and oppression.
Published: Jul. 3, 2020 at 4:11 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT)- Community members are calling for an end to systemic racism and oppression. Even though the crowd was small at the Rally for Justice outside the Genesee County Jail Friday, there was a big message to be heard.

“It’s just a collective of folks coming together to say locally we want to make sure we are paying attention to the issues we have locally,” said Charis Lee.

Lee is an attorney and one of the organizers of the event who uses the word ‘issues’ very broadly.

“Folks being arrested, any injustice, for lack of a better word any type of systematic oppression,” she said.

An example? Long prison sentences for people charged with marijuana possession.

Lee said “If we want to move forward, we need to be thinking about as we progress with the law, we also need to progress when we think about folks who have been hurt by those laws that have oppressed people for a long time.”

But Lee is pleased to hear their voices have not gone unheard and that progress is being made.

Genesee County and a number of other counties in the state recently declared racism a public health crisis.

“We can start to funnel dollars into things that will help like unconscious bias training. Things that will help folks realize maybe I don’t know that I have a bias, and this training will help folks realize how to interact with diverse people.”

But voices being heard is only the beginning. In order to see the changes that need to be made, a lot of it happens at the polls.

“We can get mad, we can loot, we can have private conversations but voting is what’s going to change,” said speaker Sonja Lee.

Lee encouraged people to register to vote and do their civic duty come August and November. But it’s more than just casting a ballot.

It’s about educating yourself about the candidates including what their views are, their positions, their plans to meet the needs of their constituents.

Lee said “People get back in and they’re not qualified doing the same things. it’s friends and friends, but when you research a candidate, you know who you’re putting in there.”

And that’s as simple as doing a google search. Lee said to remember that every single elected position matters including city council seats, judges, mayors, state officials -- those are the people that can either move an agenda forward or backward.

And it's up to you and only you to decide who gets your vote.

“Find them and talk to them. A lot of candidates are out campaigning. Pull them aside and ask them different things like what you want, what they believe in, so we need to make informed choices.”

No particular group organized Friday’s rally.

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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