This past weekend, the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha, a historic Black fraternity, took to the streets of Chicago and held steadfast in the midst of icy temperatures and a snowstorm to protest against the epidemic of violence plaguing Black communities in the Windy City.
On Monday, Roland Martin host of NewsOne Now, talked with Rev. Roosevelt Watkins, Pastor of the Bethlehem Star Missionary Baptist Church, about the protest and what other measures are being taken by the African-American community to end the killings ravaging Chicago neighborhoods. The NewsOne Now panel also discussed the protest action and how the media reports on African-Americans standing up to inter-community violence.
Examiner.com quoted Watkins as saying the march held on Nov. 21 was “the beginning of activism taking place on 79th Street.”
“We will stand up for this community. We are marching as men to confront the violence on these blocks and to reinvigorate economic development on 79th Street.”
During Monday’s edition of NewsOne Now, Watkins told Martin that, unfortunately, “we’ve been seeing a spike in crime and on 79th St., the street on which we marched, there is a gang war going on from Damen to Cottage Grove,” an extremely large stretch of the South Side of the city, which is predominantly African-American.
“The men of Alpha Phi Alpha took a stand and wanted to let the community know that there are professional Black men who are educated out in our community, so when we see negative stereotypes, we want people to know Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity portrays a positive role model,” said Watkins.
Rev. Watkins explained that there were over 300 men in attendance for Saturday’s protest and the their next step is to promote national programs, which include mentoring, and said they are going be “challenging the Divine Nine to come out and march with us.”
Watch Roland Martin, Rev. Roosevelt Watkins, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the Alpha Phi Alpha protest and media’s portrayal of the African-American response to inter-community violence in the video clip below.
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