Grassroots movement expresses support for protest

NOW: Grassroots movement expresses support for protest

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – More than 130 African American business leaders are expressing support for protests for change, while disapproving of the damage being done to businesses.

Authors and signers say this letter is not solely a response to what we’ve seen transpire over the last couple of days, but rather years of racism and oppression.

“They’re protesting the discrepancy between the reality of our lives being more important, our lives mattering, and the way we are treated by systems of oppression,” says Elmer Moore. “Looting, the property damage, the unfortunate distractions from all the protesters are just that -- a distraction. It does not speak for those who are encouraging, pushing and demanding their message be heard.”

The names attached to the letter do not represent a single organization, but rather a collection of communities and leaders; members of the Milwaukee area who are calling for change.

At one point, the letter says: “Across the nation, people have been pushed to the edge. Protests, public anger, and grief are the smoke, not the spark that led to the recent events."

“This is the result of centuries of, lifespan of, generations of crushing, unrelenting racism,” says Moore. “I certainly do not condone the destruction of property. I don’t condone the violent reactions from anyone who is operating near protesters, but I understand why people are filled with rage and sadness.”

“MLK and Bronzeville, those areas have been made fertile land for individuals of color, in particular black people, to develop and cultivate business,” says Carl Wesley. “That is the last place in the world that we should be tearing down. When we go out to express our justified anger, we have to make sure it’s not lead by blind rage.”

They say it’s been a movement supported by all generations.

“Extraordinarily supportive, so long as we understand that it is not the work of protesters who are trying to distract from the underlying message of change,” says Moore.

Signers say this letter is just the first step. They say they will be putting out a call to action soon.

Read the full letter below:

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