Demonstrators hold Peaceful Protest at Courthouse

Demonstrators hold Peaceful Protest at Courthouse

By Dylan Smith, Managing Editor •

SCOTTSBORO, Ala. — Last Saturday, demonstrators took to the courthouse square to protest a number of issues facing the black community.

County and city law enforcement were positioned strategically around the square to protect protestors, as well as property, against potential out of town agitators. The demonstration remained peaceful as a diverse crowd of concerned citizens gathered in protest.

“I owe my life to a black man and my soul to a Jewish carpenter,” said Iraq War Veteran and Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Kenny Bryant, who narrowly avoided stepping on a land mine when a black man tackled him, thus saving his life. 

“I’m here today because of a man that looks like him, he saved my life,” proclaimed Sgt. Bryant while pointing to a fellow black protester. “I was this close to stepping on a land mine. You know what he did? He didn’t give a damn about his own body, he jumped in front of it and tackled me.”

Sgt. Bryant noted the significance of the date the protest was being held, which was D-Day. He mentioned the brotherhood of black and white men who valiantly stormed the beaches of Normandy to liberate France from Nazi occupation.

This was one of many impassioned speeches given to rally the crowd. 

Demonstrators joined hands in prayer before marching the courthouse square. Protesters held signs displaying anti-racism slogans. Marchers chanted popular rallying cries such as “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and “Black Lives Matter.”

Protesters displayed great appreciation to present law enforcement officers. As they passed the police while marching, many protesters were seen giving a ‘thumbs up’ to the officers.

Sheriff Chuck Phillips took to social media to thank protesters and law enforcement. 

“The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank everyone involved in yesterday’s effort,” said Phillips. “We are thankful for a community where we proved we can all come together peacefully with the same goal in mind. Unity. We thank everyone for protesting peacefully and not taking that right for granted. You did a wonderful job.”

Jackson Blaze spoke with protest organizer Joh Ellison prior to the demonstration’s conclusion.

“I think here, people just want to make a big difference, to make a stand,” said Ellison. “I made a few posts and people said ‘I’m with you, I may not understand but I’m with you.’”

Ellison continued, “We’re trying to let people know not to let the media separate you, don’t let social media separate you. Come together. Together we’re stronger.”

Ellison expressed optimism for the future of Jackson County in terms of race relations. 

“There’s a lot of people from different areas. The fact that people have come down from the Mountain really speaks volumes. That shows that there’s hope, there’s a chance for change.”