Dover demonstrators say: ‘All lives matter’

Dover City Councilman Roy Sudler, Jr., center, leads the All Lives Matter March on Loockerman Street in Dover on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Dover City Councilman Roy Sudler, Jr., center, leads the All Lives Matter March on Loockerman Street in Dover on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Holding signs and chanting, a group of people marched down Loockerman Street Tuesday afternoon to call for an end to violence, both in the form of police brutality and conflicts among black men and women.

Though several signs read “Black lives matter,” the rally was much broader, with supporters calling for people to love everyone, regardless of race or creed.

Organized by Dover Councilman Roy Sudler, the event featured about 40 people, the majority of whom were black. With police holding back traffic, the marchers walked from the Duncan Center to city hall, chanting all the way.

There were proclamations that police lives, Hispanic lives, white lives matter, that “everybody matters.”

All Lives Matter March participants on Loockerman Street in Dover on Tuesday

All Lives Matter March participants on Loockerman Street in Dover on Tuesday

“To me what this is all about is respect,” Sen. Brian Bushweller, D-Dover, said. “I think we have a lot of differences and we have a lot of problems. We have a lot of things we have to work harder on. But if we can start from a basis of respect for each other, I think we got a real good chance of solving those kinds of problems.”

As the crowd moved through downtown Dover, people gathered on the sidewalks watching. Some took pictures and videos, a few joined in the chants briefly and one man raised his fist in a show of solidarity.

After two black men were killed by police in Minnesota and Louisiana last week, protests around the nation intensified. About 50 people gathered in Dover Saturday and blocked Del. Route 1 for a few minutes as they demonstrated on the road.

Tuesday’s rally was intended to show support not just for the black community but for many other groups, including police officers.

Lou Vacior of Dover holds a sign before the start of All Lives Matter March on Loockerman Street in Dover on Tuesday.

Lou Vacior of Dover holds a sign before the start of All Lives Matter March on Loockerman Street in Dover on Tuesday.

But the more inclusive theme, one woman protested, is not the one activists need to be focusing on.

Camden resident Alane Parker spoke passionately about the need for the Black Lives Matter movement, arguing members are being unfairly cast by many as villains.

“We know all lives matter,” she said. “It’s a difference when we say black lives matter. It’s not because we are being racist, it’s because we are the ones being killed. We are the ones. And the situation that happened last week (where two black men were fatally shot), had they been white, that would not have happened.”

Mr. Sudler said he understood but wanted to push for greater acceptance from all corners of society.

After the marchers arrived at City Hall, they gathered for additional comments from participants, who again

Charles and Precious Jackson of Dover before the start of All Lives Matter March.

Charles and Precious Jackson of Dover before the start of All Lives Matter March.

called for people to respect others.

Several speakers said Delaware, the First State, should lead in tackling racial divides and promoting greater unity.

They also urged demonstrators to continue their efforts and try to make a difference in improving society.

The Rev. Rita Paige, pastor at Star Hill A.M.E. Church, exhorted people to fight hate with love.

“Malcolm X had a speech called the ballot or the bullet. And I certainly hope that we will put down the bullets and go to the ballots,” she said. “We want to fight back, we need to register to vote. And we need to fight back with our votes. We need to let our voices be heard.”

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.