Amid ongoing unrest in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo., a group of 40 to 50 protesters took part Wednesday in a peaceful march through Kansas City aimed at calling attention to issues of racial disparity.
“These are issues that need to be addressed and need to be discussed,” said James Terrance, a pastor at Kansas City’s Friendship Baptist Church who helped organize the event. “So we’re a peaceful protest to show that we can walk, we can march, we can protest without destroying property, but at the same time voice our concerns.”
Following Monday’s announcement that a white police officer in Ferguson would not face charges for the shooting death of an unarmed black teen in August, protests both peaceful and violent have sprung up in various cities.
On Tuesday night in Kansas City, a march involving about 100 people to the Country Club Plaza resulted in five arrests, police said.
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Wednesday’s event remained orderly as the group marched from Brush Creek near Woodland Avenue, down Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard, and ended in front of the J.C. Nichols fountain near the Plaza. Along the way, protesters carried signs and occasionally chanted. One waved to a Kansas City police car stationed along the route.
“Everybody says that there’s been change, but there’s institutionalized racism,” said Donna Jackson of Kansas City, who took part. “From the educational system, the court system, corporations. And that’s something the United States has never, ever dealt with.”
Frank Douglas Jr., a bishop at Beth Judah Ministries in Kansas City, described Ferguson as a “tinderbox that kind of ignited us” and called attention to underlying racial issues that have existed in countless communities.
“We can treat the elephant in the room as a mouse if you want to, but it’s not a mouse,” he said. “So we want to think about moving forward with prayerful thought.”