In solidarity with Kevin Matthews—a man shot by a Dearborn police officer last month—and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the Campaign to TAKE ON HATE joined civil rights groups and more than 100 protesters in Dearborn, Mich. on Monday, Jan. 4 to demand justice.
Marching down Michigan Avenue, the peaceful crowd chanted “no justice, no peace” and held signs that read "We want justice for all," along with other messages from the National Action Network, which organized the protest.
"We don’t believe that justice will be achieved through closed doors and there are so many unanswered questions that have not been answered. We want to support the family and we want to support the community, which has been devastated by the killing," TAKE ON HATE Campaign Manager and former State Rep. Rashida Tlaib told the Detroit Free Press.
Police claim that Matthews, 35, was shot on Dec. 23 near the Dearborn-Detroit border after he tried to take an officer's gun. However, Matthews’ friends and family say that he was harmless and suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Protesters are asking for an open and thorough investigation into the shooting by the county prosecutor's office, which will determine whether the officer will be charged.
"We feel a sense of responsibility to elevate the voice of this victim. People are devastated at how he was chased down and shot in a backyard. ... We're going to make sure that Kevin Matthews' death was not in vain. ... We want to make sure that we hold them all accountable and it takes us being out there and being public in trying to achieve some sort of reason," Talib told the Free Press.
The busy traffic on Michigan Avenue was diverted so protesters could carry their signs and flags straight to the Dearborn Police Department.
“We have no choice but to raise our voice. The time of being silent is over," Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Michigan, told the Detroit News.
The protesters' overall message: change, fair treatment and justice for people of all backgrounds.
The Campaign to TAKE ON HATE opposes and stands against hate and bigotry toward all people. TAKE ON HATE is a multi-year, grassroots campaign that strives to address issues of bias and challenges the growing discrimination and persistent misconception of Arab and Muslim Americans, including refugees.
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