Columbia residents took to the streets Saturday to raise awareness of crime in the city, especially black-on-black crime.
Organizer Glenn Cobbins Sr. said he believes the black on black crime in the community is what’s holding people back in impoverished areas.
“It takes a person with a lot of courage to come out here and just say ‘let’s address the real issues,'” he said. “Not politically, not for notoriety, not because the police or the cameras are here. But because it’s real and we care about what happens in our community.”
The group started the march at Hickman High School and made its way downtown to the Boone County Government Center.
There, different speakers urged the group of about 30 people of all ages and races to think of it not as a black-and-white, black-on-black issue but as an issue that encompasses everyone. They also preached family values that apply to everyone.
“So-called black people, we kill each other so much more than white police officers kill us,” Cobbins said. “If you’re living the type of life that demonstrates crime and violence, you’re going to be approached that way.”
Cobbins works part time with the city of Columbia to help implement parts of its strategic plan.
“Every day that I wake up, I go to those crime ridden areas,” he said. “The guys that are supposed to be doing the crime, the guys that look like they’re impoverished or the areas that are the focus for the strategic plan. They’ll know I’m there.”
One high school student said she felt like crime in Columbia is often swept under the rug and forgotten. She said she was marching Saturday to bring more awareness to it, that just because it isn’t happening to everyone doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
Along the same lines, Cobbins said that even if the crime isn’t directly affecting someone, doesn’t mean that it’s not their problem.
“We’re calling everybody out,” he said. “We are family regardless of who you are so let’s get this thing together and move forward.”