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Local Black Lives Matter group plans to avoid RNC in Cleveland

By Doug Livingston • Jul 9, 2016 at 6:00 AM

CLEVELAND — Black Lives Matter of Cuyahoga County will not protest during the Republican National Convention. The no-show, the group’s leadership said, has nothing to do with the deadly shooting of five Dallas police officers during a protest held Thursday night.

Jeffrey Mixon, president of the Cuyahoga County chapter of the national Black Lives Matter movement, said Friday that his local group will not be counted among the dozens of advocacy organizations that will march on the first day of the GOP convention.

Mixon said the decision came after his organization refused to attend the past three weekly planning meetings for the RNC protest, dubbed the “March to End Poverty.” The march, focusing on socioeconomic problems and not specifically race, is spearheaded by Larry Bressler of Organize! Ohio.

Black Lives Matter of Cuyahoga County, which is publicly endorsing Republican Sen. Rob Portman for U.S. Senate, is opting not to participate in the RNC march as a protest against United Clevelanders Against Poverty, the umbrella coalition putting on the event.

“These are people who live in gated communities who want us to come together and support their issues,” said Mixon, who commended Bressler for his advocacy work but admonished organizers for “using the murder of innocent black children to advance their cause” to end poverty.

Bressler continually reached out to Mixon to attend the planning meetings.

The local Black Lives Matter chapter will be in Cleveland before and after the RNC, which runs from July 18 to 21.

The group plans to join other civil rights advocates from July 14 to 17 to protest racial inequality and injustice at The National Convention of the Oppressed. Mixon said he’ll speak at a church after the Republican gathering.

Mixon’s group, composed of 50 members and seven executives, also condemned the shooting deaths of five police officers and injury of seven others including a protestor Thursday night in Dallas.

“Black Lives Matter in Cuyahoga County condemns the killing of innocent police officers by rouge citizens as much as we condemn the killing of innocent black men, women and children by rogue police officers,” the group posted on its Facebook page. “America will never become a great nation without first becoming a moral nation.”

Asked about renewed tensions between police and the people of color they serve, Mixon acknowledged the delicate atmosphere following a live stream video released Wednesday morning by a black woman who watched a white patrol officer shoot and kill her boyfriend during a traffic stop outside St. Paul, Minn.

“I personally always try to take a step back,” Mixon said. “Of course, when you look at the videos of the police officers, the way they killed the recent two, they’re gunning our people down like animals and they’re showing no compassion. Your first response is emotional.”

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©2016 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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