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 Many participants in the Black Lives Matter vehicle parade May 30 in the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods put signs on their vehicles.

Many participants in the Black Lives Matter vehicle parade May 30 in the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods put signs on their vehicles.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran


Pointers, Harper Woods residents unite against racism

By: K. Michelle Moran | C&G Newspapers | Published May 31, 2020

 More than 200 vehicles, many decorated with signs or painted messages, gathered at Eastland Mall in Harper Woods the morning of May 30 for a parade through Harper Woods and the Grosse Pointes in support of Black Lives Matter.

More than 200 vehicles, many decorated with signs or painted messages, gathered at Eastland Mall in Harper Woods the morning of May 30 for a parade through Harper Woods and the Grosse Pointes in support of Black Lives Matter.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

 Names of African Americans who lost their lives during acts of racial violence are painted on this vehicle, one of the dozens driven in a Black Lives Matter vehicle parade through the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods May 30.

Names of African Americans who lost their lives during acts of racial violence are painted on this vehicle, one of the dozens driven in a Black Lives Matter vehicle parade through the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods May 30.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

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GROSSE POINTES/HARPER WOODS — In the wake of recent national incidents of violence against African Americans, dozens of residents of the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods took part in a peaceful car parade to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement the morning of May 30.

Organized by We GP, Grosse Pointe Democratic Club, Little Pointers for Diversity and other community organizations, the event featured more than 200 vehicles, many bearing signs with messages such as, “We need to do better,” “Peace with justice,” “Make racism wrong again” and “Racism is not getting worse. It’s getting filmed.” 

The event was put together following George Floyd’s killing during an arrest May 25 in Minneapolis. Derek Chauvin, one of the officers who arrested Floyd, was seen in cellphone footage kneeling for several minutes on Floyd’s neck as a handcuffed Floyd lay facedown on the ground, saying he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin has now been charged with murder in the incident, which has sparked outrage and protests nationwide.

“After the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis, we believed we needed to come together as a community,” said Shannon Byrne, president of We GP, which is also known as Welcoming Everyone Grosse Pointe. “White folks need to stand up for equity and justice in this country.”

Colton Dale, second vice president of the Grosse Pointe Democratic Club, said he and Byrne spearheaded the parade after a conversation only days earlier, on May 27. He said they were happy with the large turnout.

“This event blew our expectations away,” Dale said. “We want to thank everyone who showed up and made signs and decorated their cars to stand up against racism and police brutality.”

Participants gathered in the Eastland Mall parking lot in Harper Woods, near the shuttered Macy’s store. Public safety officers in Harper Woods and the Pointes blocked off streets and directed traffic along the route. Dale said participants were told to follow all regular vehicular laws to not impede other traffic.

As vehicles made their way through Harper Woods and all five Pointes, traveling along major thoroughfares including Vernier Road, Mack Avenue, Moross Road, Kercheval Avenue and Lake Shore Road, a number of motorists showed support by honking. Some pedestrians along the route — a few of them carrying signs or banners with messages such as “Black Lives Matter” — waved, clapped, offered thumbs-up signs and cheered as the parade passed by.

“I just thought that was so fantastic,” Dale said of the shows of support.

Dale said the incidents involving the killings of Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed African American jogger shot in Georgia, are just the latest and most visible examples of racism and violence against persons of color.

“It’s hard to comprehend that that’s what’s going on in our country today,” Dale said.

Cynthia Douglas, president of the Grosse Pointes-Harper Woods Branch of the NAACP, said that people are “seeing injustice” around the country and want to stand up for their friends and neighbors.

“We have people from all walks of life out there,” Douglas said of the long line of vehicles as they prepared to start the parade. “This is just amazing. This just shows when a community comes together what can be accomplished.”

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