Unity rally participants promote message of peace

Unity rally participants promote message of peace
More than 100 people turned out for the event, organized by JZ 94.5. (Photo source: WLOX News)
More than 100 people turned out for the event, organized by JZ 94.5. (Photo source: WLOX News)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - No protests, just understanding. Together.

That was the message during the JZ 94.5 Unity Rally in Gulfport Friday evening.

The meet-and-greet got things off on the right foot. Thought it was communication that didn't need words, there were plenty to share.

"We wanted to keep it really grass roots," said co-organizer Tabari Daniels. "Not so much about speeches and being long-winded. More about being social; more about networking. And, hey, it doesn't matter if we disagree. It doesn't mean it's disrespect."

The radio station decided to have the rally in response to the deadly shootings involving police as well as targeted assaults on law enforcement officers.

"Things are happening nationwide, but what happens locally spreads nationwide," said Michael Daniels, another organizer. "So if this can serve as the blueprint, then hopefully people nationwide will take note."

The rally had a diversified group of more than 100, and everyone was in step.

"As a family, we don't like the division," said Lisa Broussard, wife of a police officer. "We want to see everyone come together regardless of race or profession and come together as friends."

Eddie Valeros with the Patriot Guard Riders, agreed.

"Anytime we have a call like this to support our community and the people that protect it, I want to be a part of that," said Valeros.

It was a good day for Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania.

"Today is a clear statement. A clear statement of where we are and who we are," Papania said. "There's nothing but support behind me for not just the police department but for our community and the unity within."

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.