I almost had decided against writing this letter, but since the spectacle played out in front of the public, I think it is only fitting that it be addressed in public. I was very disappointed in the behavior of the “organizers” in Cedartown’s Martin Luther King Day march.
My sister and I have marched in M.L.K. Day and other civil rights observations for decades. Now in our so-called “golden years” we usually just stay in Rome, but this year, upon invite, we chose to come support and march at the one in Cedartown.
While we enjoyed the music and remarks provided by Pastor Richardson, we must tell you that the husband and wife organizers of the march were very rude and condescending to the two fine Cedartown police officers who were there to ensure we, the march participants, were kept safe.
There was apparently a planning error, so the march had to occur on the sidewalk instead of on the street. Not a single soul had a problem with that. But when we finished marching and gathered in front of the courthouse, both (organizers) stepped in front of the microphones and in front of all 50 or so of us, made disparaging remarks toward the community’s law enforcement.
One in particular said that the police men and women were “goons” for keeping us all on the sidewalk, and insinuated that a government conspiracy was trying to stop us from marching! That’s right, just after we had concluded a peaceful march! These disgusting comments were heard by all, and recorded by many, in attendance.
It is this kind of divisive rhetoric that ruined the spirit of the march for us. We left shortly thereafter because the tantrums and comments took the focus off why we were there in the first place — for healing, reconciliation, peace, and sister/brotherhood.
While my sister and I were appalled by the behavior, we wish to express our thanks to the fine Cedartown police officers — who, again, were there for our safety — as well as to the dozens of people of all colors who came out and marched, not for personal glory and attention, but to remember and honor the ideals for which Dr. King stood.
Gladys “Essie” Sewell