On Thursday, Unique Morgan Dunston, a 2015 Albertville High School alumna, officially announced she and Ileana Ramirez were organizing a march in downtown Albertville on Saturday to “support the fight against racism.”
“This is what we’re marching for: to show our support in the fight against racism, inequality in the black community and injustices all over the country,” Dunston stated in a post on her Facebook page. “It is also very important to know that we will be marching in support of the officers that work very hard to do their job well and to do their job properly.
“I want to be very clear that this is not a protest,” she continued. “This is not a march against black and white, against police and non-police. This is a march to unify everyone in the community and to show our support to the country and to the world as we continue to fight against racism.”
Dunston and Ramirez met with Albertville Police Chief Jamie Smith to go over their permit and plan the event. Smith said he was in support of their right to free speech and how they were doing it “the right way” by complying with all the permit requirements. Still, he said his only “fear” was of outside agitators exploiting the situation to cause chaos.
“Our community of Albertville stands behind us with their support as we call for change,” Dunston stated. “We will not condone violence in any way, shape, or form. You have a right of speech and to be heard however we’ll not stand behind profanity towards our police officers who have decided to stand with us. If you initiate violence in ANY WAY, we will not be responsible for your safety. As an individual, you are responsible for your own actions. We strongly encourage anyone and everyone to come out in our city and stand for change.
“As individuals, if you feel the need for change and feel you have been called to stand against the injustices our brothers and sisters have been subjected to in our country, we now have been given the opportunity to make a change not just for our community, but in our state.
“Please join us in solidarity as we come together with our community and stand together in unity as one against the violence and brutality that has taken place in our country. We as a group of people who have taken action call for a peaceful protest.
“I wholeheartedly believe that this event will be a success. I believe in our community, I believe that Marshall County is good, and I do believe that there is good. I’m a huge believer in God, so I am trusting and believing in him that this will be an amazing event for us to all come together to unify, to stand up for what is right and to help our brothers and sisters in need. So, before the march even starts there will be prayer and we will be starting as a unified force so that everyone stays safe and that everyone remains peaceful and organized.”
Participants may begin gathering at the high school starting at 4:30 to go over details and safety guidelines, Ramirez said. The march will take place from 5-6 p.m. following the traditional homecoming parade route through downtown. All of the roads along the route will be blocked off during the event. Smith said everyone will be required to disperse once the permit expires.