Weekend rallies call for peace

Weekend rallies call for peace

With continued violence against police officers dominating headlines from Baton Rouge and Dallas in recent weeks, groups in the Four States have taken to peaceful demonstrations to showcase a positive relationship between law enforcement and community.

A “Blue Lives Matter” event in Neosho opened with the speaker addressing that the demonstration is not anti-Black Lives Matter, rather, a time to appreciate local law enforcement. Officers from Neosho Police Department, Newton County Sheriff’s office and Missouri Highway Patrol attended the rally hosted by Neosho Christian Church.

“I just put a comment on Facebook that maybe we should set aside today to pray for and support law enforcement. I was thinking on an individual basis but it turned into, God turned it into this,” Mike Casey, event organizer said of the 300-person attendance at the rally.

Boy scouts presented the colors and a bugler played a solemn “Taps” with the morning’s shooting of three Baton Rouge officers weighing heavily on the hearts of those in attendance.

“We believe as Christians that law enforcement officers are there for our good. We wanted to honor them and honor the office they’re in,” pastor Thomas Montgomery of Neosho Christian Church said.

The conclusion of the event took the form of individual families praying with law enforcement families. Many hands were placed on officer’s backs as many “thank yous” were exchanged.

“I saw officers being humbled by all the support from the community that came out today. We don’t get that very often, we’re used to the complaints and sometimes we don’t know how to respond to people that are being nice to us like this. We really appreciate it,” Newton Co. Sheriff chief deputy Chris Jennings said.

Jennings was a speaker at the event.

Over in Joplin’s Ewert Park, Unity of Joplin played peaceful music and held a unity vigil, relating peace and unity to a solution for the nation in distress.

“There has been enough violence and enough tragedy in our country for the last couple of weeks. We want to create an energy that brings peace in the process. In the process of reconciliation, in the process of awakening,” minister Gordon Keyler said.

“Peace in the Process” acknowledged recent tragedies beyond violence against law enforcement officers, such as the shooting at the Orlando nightclub.

“We truly believe nothing can really happen if we can’t come from a place of peace and acceptance,” Keyler said.

To continue the demonstrations of peace and unity, a unity walk will take place next Sunday at Memorial Hall at 1 p.m.