A rally was held Tuesday night at Central Park, in part to encourage an ending to black-on-black crime in Pine Bluff.
About 120 persons — including Alderman Steven Mays — gathered for the event. After a brief “meet-and-greet” session, several speakers addressed the overwhelmingly African-American crowd.
Muslim leader Jihad Muhammad said the solution to blacks’ woes can be found in “separation.”
“If you’re afraid to stand for justice and (not) ready to give your life for it, you should just leave,” he said. “The meaning of this day will be determined by what we do when we leave here.”
He urged attendees to start “talking to Muhammad.”
Christian minister John James — the Taking Back Pine Bluff movement founder and an unsuccessful mayoral candidate here last year — said that “unity, organization and highlighting an issue” is only the “first step” in bettering one’s existence. Stressing the importance of “moral character,” he noted that “faith without works is dead.”
He quoted Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in saying, “Unity is stronger than an atom bomb.”
Donald Muhammad said that Prosecuting Attorney S. Kyle Hunter should “try to help” in the investigation of the June 2012 shooting death of Tashara Banister here. No charges have been filed in the case.
Interim Police Chief Jeff Hubanks said in a Tuesday afternoon telephone interview that the incident occurred before he returned to work from a retirement and he knew little about it, but would obtain answers to some questions on the case posed by rally leaders.
Donald Muhammad, who believes community members should “show love to one another,” said that in addition to seeking an end of racial profiling by police officers, the rally was organized so that “our people” could be invited “to stand with us against black-on-black crime.”
He also said that the event was designed to “show them” that “there will be some good that comes out of the Trayvon Martin case.”