Love walk slated for Sunday

Published 5:59 pm Monday, July 11, 2016

Love conquers all.

That’s what a small group is hoping gets across to the community of Atmore as a love walk will be held this Sun., July 17, city hall to Heritage Park.

The love walk is in response to the shootings of two black men in Baton Rouge, La., and St. Paul, Minn., and five Dallas (Texas) police officers that occurred last week. In addition, the love walk is also to help the community come together.

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The Rev. Harold Askew of New Pleasant Home Missionary Baptist Church of Atmore said during the city council’s meeting Monday night, that the walk’s purpose is for the community to become proactive.

“Rather than waiting on something to happen, and then coming together to react to what has happened, we want to come together on a proactive basis to hopefully prevent whatever is happening in other places from happening here in Atmore,” Askew said. “We’re not a political group. We’re not a part of any other organized group.”

The walk is slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. at city hall. From there, those gathered will walk to Heritage Park, where a rally will be held.

Askew said Mayor Jim Staff, Police Chief Chuck Brooks and others will address the crowd.

“We don’t want to do this just for our community, we want to also let our police department know that we love them, and we care about the way they treat us,” he said. “We’re not treated like some other places treat us. They (Atmore police officers) treat us with dignity and respect, and respect is a two-way street.

“We want to let the community know we need to respect our police department as they respect us,” he said. “We need to keep the love in our community so we won’t have people get shot on the street. We don’t want to have five police officers to get killed. That hurt me to my heart. That should’ve hurt all of us in both instances.”

Askew said the concept of the walk originated when his daughter and Poarch Police Officer Billy Bailey talked about the recent events.

“You don’t fight hate with hate,” Askew said. “You fight hate with love.”

Askew said he hopes that the younger generation will attend the walk.

“We need to get some of our young people on the street to come to this,” he said. “We need to let them know that police officers are our friends. They’re not here to hurt us. They’re here to help us.”