Black Lives Matter service remembers, searches for answers in community

Community activist and Hill Street Baptist Church member Dwayne Barton performs poetry Dec. 14 at the church. Barton was one speaker during a special Black Lives Matter service, where parishioners came together to honor and remember people of color killed by police recently in this country.

“Jim Crowe is dead, but he left his children, including James Crowe, Esq.,” said Rev. Dr. Keith Ogden, host pastor at Hill Street Baptist Church. “He’s got the ‘esquire’ after his name because he’s writing policies to keep folks disenfranchised.”

The church hosted a Black Lives Matter service Dec. 14 to remember black lives lost at the hands of police recently in America, and to discuss solutions to the problem, nationally and locally.

“It has not been a good year for black America,” said Ogden. “We’ve witnessed violence over and over again. After the misjustice of the [Eric Garner] grand jury decision Dec. 3. I don’t know how you felt about it Hill Street, but I’m mad. Too often we see this played out and have apathy in our community. For the city of Asheville, this is a call to action.”

Ogden emphasized that he is demanding certain things change, but he wants a peaceful approach. Members of the clergy are scheduled to meet with city and police officials Tuesday morning, Dec. 16, to discuss police protocol when arrests are made. The meeting is open to the public, but comments will not be allowed.

A board remembering black lives lost at the hands of police is displayed at Hill Street Baptist Church.
A board remembering black lives lost at the hands of police is displayed at Hill Street Baptist Church.
The Praise Dancers express their emotions of current events through dance.
The Praise Dancers express their emotions of current events through dance.
The Hill Street Baptist Church mass choir sings inspirational music.
The Hill Street Baptist Church mass choir sings inspirational music.
Activist Dwayne Barton presents a wall representing toy guns that police sometimes mistake for real guns, which ends in tragedy for black youths. "These toys that kids like to play with, they don't realize they are bad for them," he said.
Activist Dwayne Barton presents a wall representing toy guns that police sometimes mistake for real guns, which ends in tragedy for black youths.
“These toys that kids like to play with, they don’t realize they are bad for them,” he said.
Rev. Jim Abbott recites the Prayer of Invocation at Sunday night's service.
Rev. Jim Abbott recites the Prayer of Invocation at Sunday night’s service.
"Do we have the courage as a community to stand up to police violence?" asked Dwayne Barton.
“Do we have the courage as a community to stand up to police violence?” asked Dwayne Barton.
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About Pat Barcas
Pat is a photojournalist and writer who moved to Asheville in 2014. He previously worked for a labor and social rights advocacy newspaper in Chicago. Email him at pbarcas@gmail.com. Follow me @pbarcas

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2 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter service remembers, searches for answers in community

  1. Anne Craig

    It was a beautiful, creative and inspiring service. I am still reverberating from it two days later! Thank you to Hill St. Baptist Church, to the choir, the band, the speakers and to all who attended. Perhaps finally, our community can get past the mistrust and separation that has for two long, kept people of good intent apart. This event was a true heart opener!

  2. Alan Ditmore

    The DEA can handle that kind of stuff for free. Progressive cities should wash our hands of police and devote ALL our funds to housing which also reduces desperation related crime.
    I wrote on Buncombe Politics that friction between police and housing residents was inevitable and could never be resolved because they were in direct competition for the exact same funding dollars. Funding is absolutely a zero sum game and I am for housing and must therefore be against police (and childcare and every other budget item.) Armed citizens, deputies, state troopers and FBI combine to provide plenty of law enforcement while housing funds effectively reduce desperation related crime. Also, by defunding, bad cops can be layed off subjectively without provable cause, thus bypassing the police unions and civil service board.

    I’m thinking that maybe progressive cities like Baltimore and Asheville should simply abandon policing and transfer all police funds to affordable housing etc. Then the county, state and feds will be left to police Baltimore, which will not solve the use of force problem, but it will allow the mayor to wash her hands of it while reducing desperation, and the crime it causes. State troopers would not dare abandon city policing for fear of crime spillover beyond city limits. Besides, the most commonly enforced laws are state anyway, which means the same people who made the laws are then funding their enforcement, rather than having cities mostly paying to enforce someone else’s (state) laws. Why pay to enforce someone else’s laws?
    This would also reduce budgetary tension, which is really most of it, between city police and public housing residents. There would be no tension with a force that no longer exists.

    Also, why doesn’t XPress make tese comment boards less broadband intensive so it can be used with dialup. They are catering to a digital elite with boadband.

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