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Protesting The Police Abuse Should Include An Economic Agenda
7/20/2016 4:34:45 PM

For several days last week, hundreds gathered in downtown Charleston to voice their opposition of police brutality and promote social change. Photo by Tolbert Smalls, Jr.

More photos from the Black Lives Matter rally can be see at
By Barney Blakeney

Daily protests in response to police shootings that unjustly take the lives of blacks are occurring around the country. But the dynamics that end with bullets usually are nurtured in an environment of social and economic disadvantages. Will current protests yield economic benefits?
Charleston economic development advocate Anthony Moore said the scores of protesters who have taken to Charleston streets may be starting a ripple effect that likely will disturbed the community’s economic calm. Black lives matter includes economic survival, he said.
“Already I’m seeing more people talking about having more interaction with black owned businesses and financial institutions like C.O. Federal Credit Union. Personally, I’ve been marching since 1968. We can’t keep doing the same thing over and over. Something has to change, especially in terms of tangible things like economics. Economic empowerment has a ripple effect on things like community policing,” Moore said.

He thinks once the leadership of the protests that are being conducted begin to articulate the broader messages inherent in the marches, the frustrations born of physical abuse will result in more awareness of abuses in other areas such as economics, he said.
Pastor Thomas Dixon Founder of Coalition: People United To Take Back Our Community said the issue of economic abuse is one that definitely should be addressed through the protests. The protests have been initiated by younger people who are angered by the abuse they face from police, but they also are frustrated by the hopelessness they face about their future. A future of enslavement on jobs they need to pay off college debts, Dixon said.
Many of the protesters realize their American Dream is one that is deferred by struggles to survive trapped in minimum wage jobs. And that the frustrations they have because of police who fail to protect them are multiplied by America’s failure to protect their future.

“This is an opportunity for them to express their outrage at the threat from the police, but their anger at the economy is a part of that. It’s about the threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without getting killed along the way. They’re tired of a police system and an economic system that doesn’t protect or serve them,” Dixon said.

Like Moore, Dixon said the direction for protests to include an economic agenda must come from the leadership.

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