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Black Leaders In Kalamazoo Warn Against Property Damage

The photo shows six people participating in a video chat
Sehvilla Mann

A group of African-American leaders in Kalamazoo is calling for peaceful protests against systemic racism and police brutality. But on Facebook Live today, pastors, nonprofit directors and an elected official condemned the burning and ransacking of businesses that has occurred in cities around the country during some protests of the death of George Floyd. They said it must not happen in Kalamazoo.

Floyd, who was black, died a week ago in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes.

On a video stream organized by Kalamazoo County Commissioner Stephanie Moore, participants said that damaging businesses in Kalamazoo’s core neighborhoods would hurt the African-American community. Mattie Jordan-Woods directs the Northside Association for Community Development.

“We have to makes sure that whatever happens, that we’re still standing. Destroying the North Side is not an option,” she said.

Addis Moore is the pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Kalamazoo.

“We definitely don’t want violence, vandalism and looting in our community,” he said.

But Moore said he’s glad for peaceful demonstrations against racism and injustice.

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. She covered those topics and more in eight years of reporting for the Station, before becoming news director in 2022.