Up & Coming Weekly

July 21, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 11 of 28

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM JULY 22-28, 2020 UCW 11 To the Editor, We wanted to write a review of the events surround- ing e Citizen Cares Project Walk of Support that we planned solely to support our local police depart- ment. We want to be transparent as to what we have heard from our local police officers and also share how we feel about what we have witnessed firsthand. To be clear, our interpretation of these events are our feelings only. A group of citizens felt the need to show support for our local PD. is idea came from conversations we had with officers, who felt unsupported — specifi- cally, after being told to stand down during a time when active gunfire was taking place and mayhem was occurring. ey shared that the emphasis was on not upsetting the rioters rather than allowing the police officers to uphold law and order. When making decisions regarding our peaceful walk of support, we created our mission statement, which is: "We believe in Police Officers who do good work and lay their lives on the line every day to protect all people and prop- erty. We believe in encouraging them and lifting them up in prayer along with their families. We believe in showing them gratitude and love." e intent of the walk was solely to show support for our local law enforcement and leaders. e day of the walk, the Fayetteville PD requested we alter our route. After discussing it, we decided modifying the route was the best way to fulfill our mission, which was showing our local PD that they are respected, appreciated and loved. We also did not want to create more stress for them; they are under a tremendous amount already. Why did none of our city leaders come out and support our police department? Is it because they are trying to cater to those who want us all to be intimi- dated? ese are questions you need to ask your- selves. e general public does not see them working tirelessly behind the scenes, trying to find solutions. We are running out of time and are worried that one more day might be too late. It is only getting worse by the minute, and rumors are flying everywhere. Call in the National Guard — do whatever you have to do to ensure total chaos doesn't ensue and to make sure nobody gets hurt. Do what you must, I guarantee the rest of the country will follow suit. Our little walk in Fayetteville, North Carolina, has received national attention — attention is not what we were after. Still, we have had people from other states reach out to us and ask for our action plan and timeline. ey want to replicate what we did. People want a place to share their beliefs and prin- ciples peacefully without being attacked. When I say we, I mean our city that we all so dearly love. People came out in any way they could to support this cause. e silent majority feels the way we all do. We — you and I — support and want law and order. After our walk started, they (the Market House group) realized we were not going to walk by, and this infuriated them. Our CCP walk had nothing to do with them, as it was scheduled long before they ever camped out. ey ran down Hay Street to engage with us when we turned onto Ray Avenue. ey locked arms and blocked the road, thus breaking the law. We were then asked to change our route, yet again, to come into the backside of the PD. Our group refused, as we felt we had the right to be there and walked on. When we reached the PD, the Market House group was yelling and chanting at us. As far as I know, there was not a cross word from our group. In fact, statements were made that these individuals may want to rethink some spaces they entered — personal spaces. As for me, I was not going to engage with them in any way or respond to the statements they were screaming at me. I kept re- peating, "Jesus loves everybody," drowning out the hateful comments they were spewing. The hateful things they were screaming at us and about our Police Chief were unacceptable. We all have a right to freedom of speech. We don't have the right to disturb the peace, and they were disturb- ing ours. ey continue to dis- turb the peace in down- town Fayetteville. When you allow people to vio- late little laws, they then break bigger laws. is is exactly how chaos starts. When people are allowed to break little rules, they will continue to test the limits, and those little laws they were break- ing will turn into bigger and bigger offenses. is is what concerns us now, as law-abiding citizens, and we should not be discounted just because we are law-abiding citizens. Where is the reward for us? What is the reason for following the law if everyone is not held accountable in the same way? Why did we have to remain on the sidewalk as instructed by police on the CCP march while the protesters were allowed to block a street and disturb the peace — even after we attempted to avoid them? I am begging you to do something now. You see what painting the lane around the Market House has done — nothing good. It has empowered people to incite racism rather than bring about equality. e proof is right before our eyes. We are all on the same team. We all want better for everyone. At the end of the day, I do not think most people give much thought to someone's skin color. Good people are good and bad people are bad, and this has no color. Respectfully, Lisa G. Co-Organizer of Citizen Cares Project Fayetteville leaders, I want to thank each of you (community leaders) for stepping up and serving our community as public servants. You are "in the arena" and all credit goes to those of you who have the guts to get into the arena. As co-organizer of the Citizen Cares Project's Walk of Support, I want to share with you a few of my thoughts, and my motivation for getting involved with this project. I hope you'll take the time to read my words. I'm a recently retired (2016) Army Veteran of 26 years, my wife served 30 years before retiring in 2017. We are both children of immigrants that fled their countries of Cuba and El Salvador due to civil unrest and revolution. While serving in uniform, we had the good fortune of having support from all America. I was proud to wear the uniform, and our citizens showed their gratitude and appreciation routinely. e way our Vietnam veterans were treated is a deep scar to our nation. Our nation has gone out of its way to heal that wound by treating the military genera- tions after Vietnam with respect and appreciation. When I see (across the country) the way that our law enforcement officers have been disrespected, assaulted and even killed recently, it causes me great concern and fear. I fear that cops are leaving the force. I fear that cops are scared to do their jobs. I fear that when we don't have law enforcement, anarchy presents itself and revolutions bubble up very quickly, as happened to the countries from which our parent's fled. It was my hope that our show of support to our police officers would give them an extra boost and reassurance that the public is behind them. Unfortunately, with the appearance of the "Market House Group" on Wednesday eve, many folks stayed at home. I very much believe the "Market House Group" reduced the attendance for our walk of support by half. I'm a Buckeye by birth and a Tarheel by choice. I love Fayetteville. So much so that when my wife and I retired from the Army, we chose to stay here. I'm a real estate agent that has been selling the heck out of Fayetteville over the past few years. I have been promoting the tremen- dous downtown revitalization efforts. I have been singing the praises of the leadership of this city as well as the private investors that have poured money into our town. I can't count the number of folks that were looking in Moore, Harnett and Hoke county that have bought homes through me in Fayetteville over the past few years. I am selling Fayetteville because I believed in it. With the apparent lawlessness, anarchy and civil unrest that appears to be condoned by the leadership of this city, in good conscience I don't know if I can continue to sell Fayetteville to my clients. If you want your legacy to be the leadership of this city that lost this city, then keep allowing this ugly behavior downtown. I have read the demands of the group downtown — some of them really don't seem unreasonable. But they all take funding. If you lose this city, you will lose so much tax revenue that the pro- grams they are requesting will be impossible to fund. If you lose this city, recruiting, training and retaining the best police force in the state will be impossible to fund. Do not let your legacy be that of losing this city. Busi- nesses don't want to be downtown anymore, inves- tors don't want to invest in downtown any more, and families don't want to go downtown any more — all of those people/groups are good. Please, for the sake of the city, don't let this go on a day longer. I want to stay in Fayetteville and contribute to this city the best way that I can. I'm afraid that all of this has caused me and my wife to reconsider whether or not we want to stay here — and I am 100% confident that this same discus- sion is happening around this city, even by folks who have much deeper roots in this town than I do. I know how difficult leadership is, and you have a lot of constituents to satisfy. We pray for you and our nation's leaders. When making decisions about which side you are going to choose, ask yourself who's con- tributing to this city and who's hurting it. You can no longer play peacemaker to everybody. e constituents that are doing the most for this city hang in the balance of your decisions. is happened in our city on Saturday night into the morning hours of Sunday. https://www.facebook.com/100001136708538/ posts/3125714870809706/?d=n — Respectfully, Tony D. Co-Organizer of Citizen Cares Project e Citizen Cares Project Walk brought out hundreds to support local police officers.

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