AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta’s Interfaith Coalition, Augusta NAACP and Unitarian Universalist Church invited the public to remember the lives of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling on Friday.
The groups also held an open discussion about how to fix issues in the Garden City.
They began the evening by honoring the lives of everyone killed by acts of hate this week. Community members rallied behind uniting Augusta and working to ensure violence and brutality doesn’t happen here.
“Hate cannot drive out hate only love can do that.” Through love and discussion Augusta’s Interfaith Coalition hopes to break down the barrier of race and color discrimination in America.
“Where do we go from here? Are we going to have chaos or do we want community?” A citizen at the meeting said.
It was an evening of prayers, sharing ideas and thinking of solutions collectively. “We have to protect lives. This is our goal, protecting lives.” Aladien Fadel told WJBF NewsChannel 6, “this should be the same [no matter what] side of the aisle you are on. Protecting lives in our duty.”
Leaders spoke up about many issues across the country, which they hope to address before it becomes a problem in the C.S.R.A.
“I’ve learned [that] if you live long enough, the situations that happen in other communities end up in your front door.” Augusta NAACP President, Beulah Nash-Teachey said.
Some citizens wanted to know what kind of system the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office uses to monitor deputies, what they do and what happens if deputies things wrong. Others talked about creating a more accepting citizens advisory committee that more people can join. More pushed for more attention to mental health, as well as how it pertains to gun ownership.
“No one wants to take your guns away, but there is no reason why any civilian should have an assault rifle. That is purchased with the intent to do mass destruction.” Another citizen said at the meeting.
Many people shared that they feel there is too much division in America, but say only actively working together can the nation prevail. “If we go home after this service and think that we have done something. It will happen again and it will happen again, until we actually come together to do something to try to stop this horror.” A citizen said.
“Augusta Against Police Brutality” is holding a march at the Augusta Commons on Saturday at 10 a.m.
“Silent No More” a protest and march for justice is being held Statesboro on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The group is asking people to meet at the Agape Worship Center at 801 W. Grady Street at 5 p.m.