Several members of the Clarksville community participated in a silent demonstration to promote peace and unity in the local community on Friday, July 8.
Guy Williams Jr., a senior marketing student at APSU, led the event, which included demonstrators holding signs supporting racial equality and civil rights. The crowd stood outside the Montgomery County Courthouse waving to cars and passersby for several hours in the early afternoon.
Before the demonstration began, Williams spoke to the crowd.
“We need unity in the community and as a nation,” Williams said. “We need to end all violence, period. This is not a Black Lives Matter demonstration, this is an all lives matter demonstration.”
Williams said he hopes the event brings the community together and inspires change in the nation.
“[I want] more togetherness in general,” Williams said. “Something bad shouldn’t happen for us to get together as a community.”
Helen Anderson Long said she participated in the demonstration to continue a legacy of civil rights activism in Clarksville. Long and other demonstrators are part of the Commission on Race and Religion, or CORR, a civil rights group started by Isaac Richmond in Memphis, Tennessee.
Long said she understands the frustrations of people in the nation but does not support the use of violence.
“I can not support war and last night [in Dallas] was a war,” Long said. “Baton Rouge was a war and Minnesota was a war as well.”
Others in the crowd expressed the same non-violent stance as Long and Williams. Nikki Sanders, also a member of CORR, said “we need to stop the violence and turn back to God.”
Williams said he plans to continue being active in the Clarksville civil rights movement and will be visiting other demonstrations around Tennessee in the future.