Members of as many as ten local African American groups said Thursday they do not endorse a planned protest at Friday’s Chatham County Commission meeting because they do not endorse the person planning it. Black Lives Matter Savannah is planning a sit in at the meeting to draw attention to racism and deaths of African American males at the Chatham County Detention Center. Part of the event will include a call for Sheriff John Wilcher’s resignation.
However, several people who spoke to us Thursday outside the old courthouse say that locally, many in the African American community support John Wilcher who took office last year. “He has done everything we have asked of him,” said Alicia Blakely from the National Action Network In the past, Blakely at times has been critical of area law enforcement.
Blakely, Anthony Maben Jr. and Linda Wilder Bryan says that they and their membership don’t support the way the BLM Savannah leader Jomo Kenyatta has gone about this. They say he is not from the area and that messages on his website indicate he may be looking for trouble and that he is reportedly planning protests in Savannah that could last up to six weeks.”
“He wants to be here for six weeks can you imagine all the crazies, all the hate groups that can come to our City We don’t want him here for six seconds, him or anybody I don’t care if he’s White, Black, Purple – we do not need anybody coming into our community to further divide us,” said Wilder Bryan whose son was murdered in Savannah several years ago. “We know there is racism here but we are trying to work together to make it better.”
“We’re not saying anything bad about any members of Black Lives Matters Savannah, just their leader may have bad intentions,” said Maben.
In a statement Maben said they ” believe in the Black Lives Maters as an organizatin and as a movment. However, they do not suppor the leader.”
The statement went on to say they “do not condone violence and at this time asking people **not** to support the BLM Savannah Movement until they are able to remove current leadership.”
We talked to Kenyatta (who also goes by Jomo Johnson) earlier on Thursday. He did not indicate he wanted anything but a peaceful protest on Friday morning.