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Midtown Anchorage rally calls for peace in wake of racially charged violence elsewhere

  • Author: Marc Lester
  • Updated: July 14, 2016
  • Published July 8, 2016

Annalisha Jacobs sings at the start of an event she organized at the Mall at Sears parking lot on July 8, 2016. (Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News)

Annalisha Jacobs organized a rally that attracted several hundred people to the parking lot of the Mall at Sears in Midtown on Friday, July 8, 2016. Jacobs said she was troubled by the shootings of police officers in Dallas as well as by the recent shootings of black men by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, that attracted national attention. She said she wanted to do something to bring people together as a show of unity. "I'm tired of talking about it. It's time to be about it," she said.

Pastor James Willis of New Antioch Church of God in Christ offered a prayer at the start of the event. He said he hoped positive things could come from people gathering in Anchorage without a similar tragedy occurring here as has recently happened elsewhere.

"This is not a time for violence," he told the crowd. "This is a time to stand up and be counted and say that we love each other."

Anchorage Police Department Chief Christopher Tolley and Mayor Ethan Berkowitz also addressed the crowd, each encouraging peace and understanding between all of the city's residents despite the violence that has occurred elsewhere.

"Once again we fight against the ghosts of racists past," Berkowitz said. "That is not our way. That is not the Anchorage way."

Kevin McGee, first vice president of NAACP Anchorage, condemned the violence against police that occurred in Dallas as well as shootings of the men in Louisiana and Minnesota by police officers.

"We have said that black lives matter," he said. "We have never said that only black lives matter."

Participants in the rally place hands on one another’s shoulders. (Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News)
Pastor James Willis of New Antioch Church of God in Christ addresses the crowd. (Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News)
Anchorage Police Department Chief Christopher Tolley speaks at the event. (Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News)
Several hundred people gathered at the Mall at Sears in Anchorage on Friday evening in response to racially charged violence that has occurred recently in other parts of the U.S. (Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News)

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