Black Lives Matter group holds rally at Decatur Bandstand


Max Tirouvanziam

A diverse group of about 150 people convened at the bandstand on the Decatur square on Sat, Aug. 27, to remember recent victims of police shootings and discuss paths toward racial equality.

The event was hosted by Create Community for Decatur (CC4D), a local part of the national Black Lives Matter movement. For about an hour in the evening, speakers from CC4D and other groups from the Metro-Atlanta area talked about their experiences with discrimination and ways to combat prejudiced policing and white supremacist views.

Rev. Brady Radford, a pastor at Oakhurst Presbyterian Church, was the first speaker of the night, and guided the rally throughout. Radford is one of the cofounders of the Decatur movement, which started after the death of

The group was led in song several times throughout the night by a group of CC4D organizers. They sang several protest and civil rights anthems, including “Ella’s Song” and “Singing for our Lives.”

Eric Garner in December 2014 when the group organized a march and protest at Harmony Park.

Bradford was impressed by the “people of multiple faiths and paths together in honor and respect,” and decided to turn the moment into a movement which would continue to grow.

Radford’s speech was followed by a moment of silence, during which members of the crowd called out the names of recent victims of police brutality and shootings. This was followed by six more Atlanta-based activists, who highlighted themes familiar to the movement.

The fifth speaker was LaTrina Jackson, a self-proclaimed “queer Muslim woman” with roots in Decatur. She encouraged crowd members to “stay woke, and in community,” and spoke about the importance of the movement in creating national and local conversation.

“The movement (as a whole) is changing the narrative on black lives and black identity,” Jackson said.

Ilise Cohen, another one of the leaders of CC4D, agreed with this sentiment.

“Black Lives Matter has brought attention to the issue,” Cohen said, “and the fact that we all need to act now.”

Speakers throughout the evening highlighted distinct issues in Decatur and solutions to maintain diversity. They especially emphasized the increasing gentrification of the city, and how this has been pushing longtime residents out of Decatur and altering the existing diversity and open-mindedness. Other common concerns that were brought up included some about the training of Atlanta police and ever-present bias in the criminal justice system.

But Bradford says that the local movement has a clear path forward, despite these systemic obstacles in their path.

“We are aiming to create community, create process, and create peace,” Radford said. Their goal, as he said in his speech, is “trying to make this community the kind that is enjoyable to everyone.”


Photos taken by Max Tirouvanziam