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Hundreds march for racial justice in Grosse Pointe, as protests proliferate in Detroit suburbs

Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio

Hundreds of people marched through the streets of the Grosse Pointe communities on Friday to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

The peaceful march up and down Kercheval Avenue was racially mixed. It was organized by youth activists, but included people of all ages.

The five Grosse Pointes are a largely affluent, predominantly white community with a deep and lingering history of racism. But its demographics have grown somewhat more diverse in recent years.

Lakisha Varclift-Jones lives in Grosse Pointe Park. She said she came out for the march because it’s important to commemorate the history of this moment, and she wants to make it “a better time” for her three young children.

“Every day, you know, I worry that some innocent altercation can end up with some devastating results,” Varclift-Jones said. “So I’m just taking the time to kind of, while we have some solidarity, to hone in on that time.”

While the crowd included mostly Grosse Pointe residents, it also drew people from across Metro Detroit.

Bethanie Kelley of Royal Oak attended with some co-workers, saying she wanted to honor George Floyd who was killed by police, and all the others who have been “wronged by justice.”

“I felt the need to be here. The need to see people in action, rather than just watching it on TV, or posting something on social media,” Kelley said.

There has been intense scrutiny of protests in the city of Detroit over the past week. City leaders and some community leaders have condemned thelarge number of non-Detroitersparticipating in protests there, casting them as outside agitators who have incited unrest and used Detroit as a staging ground for political agendas.

But there have also been a number of protests in suburban Detroit communities. This was the fourth such event in the Grosse Pointes alone. Large protests are planned in both Macomb and Oakland Counties on Saturday.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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