Civil Rights leaders react to violent protests in Birmingham

Civil Rights leaders react to violent protests in Birmingham
Protests turn to unrest, vandalism in downtown Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Civil Rights leaders are reacting to protest in Birmingham, that ended with thousands of dollars in vandalism Sunday night.

Bishop Calvin Woods said marches and protests are needed to speak out against racism, and while some of those protests ended badly, we all need to keep pushing forward.

“Racism is an ingrained negative,” he said.

Bishop Woods is one of the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement.

He marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. working for peace, justice, and liberation in the black community.

“Out of one blood God made all men to dwell upon the face of the Earth. He loves everybody and wants everybody to be treated equally, just and righteous,” Bishop Woods said.

Bishop Woods said it’s important that people continue to speak out against racial inequalities, not just when there is a catalyst, like the police killing of George Floyd, and others.

He praised protesters for bringing awareness to the frustration many African-Americans feel right now, but said demonstrations should be done peacefully.

“I believe in what I’ve always believed in. We’ve got to push forward in a movement of love, and if you really love someone, you’ll surely stand up for them. We’ll stand up for one another. We’ve got to stand up together as one,” Bishop Woods said.

And he said it’s not just up to African-Americans to shoulder the responsibility of change.

He said it takes a village regardless of race, color, or creed.

“Other people of good will. We’ve got to stand together. The anthem of the movement was we shall overcome. And there’s a verse in there that says black and white together. We used to sing that. We’d join hands. Let everybody know that you’re a part of this you have a responsibility to stand up against racism and injustice,” Bishop Woods said.

He also had advice for future peaceful protesters saying it’s important to vet those around you to ensure they’re fighting for the same cause in the same manner.

He said not everyone who says they want change, will always do the right things to get it.

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