Unity March and Rally in downtown Columbia
COLUMBIA - The silence is broken as a nonviolent Unity of Action March and Rally takes place Saturday by the Boone County Courthouse.
The March started on Grand Avenue and stopped at the Boone County courthouse for a rally.
The purpose of the event is to unite the community and better the relationship between African Americans and police.
A leader for the event, Preacher Melvin Stapleton said, "There's a lot of unrest in the community especially after the violent conflicts in our country and so this felt like the time to speak out. I know some of the officers here and the thing is they are good people and that's just the thing. Not all cops are bad."
He also said, "This campaign is a response to the recent violent outbreak in our country."
Recently, Glenn Cobbins Sr. was hired by the city to be a liaison between the police and residents. Stapleton is working with Cobbins during the event by using Cobbin's job as a platform to create a unifying change to the community.
Stapleton said the neighborhood where his church, Restoration Outreach Christian Center, resides is known to be very violent.
Stapleton said, "We also hope to reach out to our youth, the 40 and under generation to encourage a more positive way for them to engage with the authorities."
Several speakers at the rally also mentioned, "it's not just black lives, all lives matter."