NAACP sponsors march to the governor\'s mansion

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LINN - People wrapped up in winter attire walked calmly through the drizzling rain in the small town of Linn, Missouri, all in the name of justice.

It's part of the NAACP's sponsored walk, The Journey for Justice. Overall, the march is 120 miles from Ferguson to Jefferson City. They started Sunday and will end at the governor's mansion at 1 p.m. Friday.

President of the NAACP State Conference Mary Ratliff said the march's purpose is to bring attention to bigger issues in this country.

"We have a problem with racial profiling, poverty, and injustices for African Americans," Ratliff said.

Ratliff said they wish to bring attention to what she calls the racist society we're living in today.

"We have to come to the table and resolve this issue of race so we can all live together in peace in this country and that has not yet happened," Ratliff said.

Marchers said the response so far has been mostly positive, but on Wednesday they experienced some trouble in the town of Rosebud.

"We got all kinds of racial slurs, racial signs thrown at us and we just walked through silently because we thought that was making the statement we wanted to make."

But there has been some kindness along the way, too.

"Several locations we had people bring us hot chocolate, coffee, or sandwiches. So there are some good people."

Andrew Mcfadyen-Ketchum is a poet who traveled all the way from Denver, Colorado to join the march. He said he just felt compelled to come and help.

"I was just really upset about the way things were going in the world," Mcfadyen-Ketchum said. "I just felt like maybe I could do something and I'm glad I did."

The President and CEO of The NAACP Cornell William Brooks has been leading the marchers.

"It's so important because we are at a point in our nation's history where a generation of young people feel like they're in a pandemic of police misconduct," Brooks said.

Brooks said one out of every four African American men report being mistreated by the police and African American men are 21 times more likely to lose their life at the hand of the police.

But Brooks said it's not just a problem with black and brown communities.

"We have people that are being profiled on the basis of their religion, on the basis of their ethnicity, on the basis of being gay or straight so the point being here is we can do things differently."

Brooks said he believes it was time for them to march from the home of Michael Brown to the home of the governor.

The group will gather at 1 p.m. at the Lewis and Clark national park in front of the governor's mansion Friday.

"We plan to seek justice for Michael Brown's family and urge systemic fundamental reform of policing in Missouri and across the country," Brooks said.

Local law enforcement said the marchers have been peaceful.

"Our experience in Osage County is that it's been a very peaceful event. We've not had any incidents," Sheriff Michael Dixon of Osage County Sherriff's office. "The Sheriff's office has been working in conjunction with surrounding law enforcement to ensure that we maintain public safety on the roadway and so far we haven't had any traffic incidents."

Governor Nixon's office has not commented on the march.

A cross bearing a biblical reference on the back and the phrase "Right 2 Live" on the front rises above the NAACP-sponsored march through Linn, Missouri, on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. Marchers took turns throughout the 120-mile journey walking, driving or riding a community bus. (KOMU/Madeleine Ptacin)

Participants of the NAACP-sponsored march take a moment to pray on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, in Linn, Missouri, before continuing their walk to Jefferson City. The 120-mile journey will conclude at Lewis and Clark Park at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. (KOMU/Madeleine Ptacin)

Rev. Anthony Witherspoon, left, and national president of the NAACP Cornell William Brooks, right, lead a group of marchers pass the Osage County Courthouse on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, in Linn, Missouri. Brooks said it's important for people to come support the NAACP mission on Friday saying, "We need you." (KOMU/Madeleine Ptacin)

Travis Holtmeyer holds a makeshift protest sign along the "Journey for Justice" route in Linn, Missouri, on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. Participants in the NAACP-sponsored march faced verbal harassment the day prior in Rosebud, Missouri. (KOMU/Madeleine Ptacin)