Protesters push for change in ‘Heal our Land’ march

Protesters push for change in ‘Heal our Land’ march

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - It's the beginning of a long, hot summer marching for justice.

On Saturday, members of the NAACP and Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ joined forces for the "Heal our Land" march.

Church members like Carol Felts walked from the church to sacred sites honoring the Civil Rights Movement, including the I AM A Man at Clayborn Temple and the National Civil Rights Museum.

Protesters push for change in ‘Heal our Land’ march
Protesters push for change in ‘Heal our Land’ march (Source: WMC Action News 5)

"We need to pray for the whole city, the whole country," said Felts. "We need to just pray and love on each other and stop all this hate."

For the Memphians who participated in the march, the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police was the final straw.

"It's been 400 years-plus since African Americans have had to suffer unnecessarily and the time has come for change," said Bishop Milton Hawkins of Temple of Deliverance COGIC.

Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner serves as NAACP Memphis Board President.

“You saw that man tortured for eight minutes and 46 seconds before he died. That’s what struck a chord in the conscious of America,” said Turner.

He says elected leaders must not miss this moment, to act.

"So we want to make sure from a policy standpoint we start pushing for what has been articulated for these protests," said Turner.

He says that includes reviewing police policies, eliminating chokeholds, and making sure rogue officers are kicked off the force.

It won't be easy.

Protesters push for change in ‘Heal our Land’ march
Protesters push for change in ‘Heal our Land’ march (Source: WMC Action News 5)

"Oh yeah, it's going to be difficult, but that never stopped us before," said Turner.

He says one thing that makes this time different are how diverse the crowds are, and how passionate young people like Joshua Hawkins are about making lasting change.

"I think it's our responsibility as a young generation to be the ones in the streets, holding our leadership accountable," said Joshua Hawkins. "I think it's time for us to take a stand and put our foot down and say we need equality, we need justice and we're willing to get out and march for it."

They plan to keep marching for justice, however long it takes.

Copyright 2020 WMC. All rights reserved.