LIMA — The first Black Lives Matter march in the city was held Saturday but it was much different than the scenes in other cities played by the national media.
This march was about peace and unity in the community. There was a strong focus on unity within the black community where march organizer Ta’Lor Jackson said there’s been too much black-on-black violence among the youth in Lima.
“We want to come out here and shed some light on issues going on in our country but also here in our community. We definitely have to start inside and work out so we definitely need to start on issues going on here,” Jackson said.
Those participating marched from Philippian Missionary Baptist Church over a two-mile route to the east that returned to the church. Chants were different in the Lima march that other cities while the common chant of “Black Lives Matter” was heard, but here there were others.
“All lives matter” and “Lima lives matter,” were repeated throughout the route with “Black lives matter.”
Jackson said she has lost friends and family to violence and wants it to stop.
“It’s something that we definitely need to have a bigger light shed on. We have to start inside and work out. If we don’t address our own issues nobody else will address them. We definitely have to start with us,” Jackson said.
Local NAACP President Ron Fails said he joined the march to support the peaceful protest and raise awareness of the issue of black-on-black violence, especially locally, as well as other issues such as a lack of employment in the black community and unfair treatment in the criminal justice system.
“Any activity like this is good because it brings attention to the issues that are occurring throughout the country and in this community. All lives matter,” Fails said. “We can come together to address the national issues but we cannot get off focus with reference to the issues that are specific to this community.”
Roderick Simpson joined the march in hopes it will spark positive change in Lima. He said it’s a good starting point.
“The big thing is to come together as a community and show that we can work together no matter the race. We are all family,” Simpson said. “If there’s going to be change, things like this need to happen.”
The march was not just for members of the black community. Several whites joined in.
“I love it. That’s what I wanted. Just because the movement is called Black Lives Matter does not mean only blacks can support that,” Jackson said. “There are other races that understand and this is a thing about having understanding no matter what race you are, what religion you are.”
Black Lives Matter became a national movement to protest police brutality but Jackson said it’s what each community wants to make it. While she wants to bring some attention to the way blacks are sometimes treated by police she said there are other issues to address such as better employment opportunity for blacks especially the youth and the issue of violence.
Jackson chose Philippian to start the march because the church is in the heart of the black community.
“We want everybody to understand and take a walk in my shoes. You don’t know what it’s like until you walk in my shoes,” Jackson said.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.