LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -After attending a Black Lives Matter rally in Oklahoma City on July 10, one Lawton man says he expects positive changes to come to the Lawton area.
Over the past week, there have been Black Lives Matter protests all across the country, including one that D.J. Zackery attended. He says while many people believe the movement incites violence, he says a lot of good can be taken away in hopes of bringing peace to other communities.
Zackery attended the rally with a leadership group, eager to find out exactly what the movement was all about. He says while these rallies are making headlines every night, many people don't really get it. He says the rally was peaceful and taught them a lot about what they can do to make Lawton a better place.
Zackery, a local barber and business owner, and thousands of people came out for the rally to march, network and listen.
"It felt like a million people. I don't know exactly how many people it was, but it definitely felt massive. It was a lot more people than I expected to be there. You couldn't see where it begins and ends, not just standing there," Zackery said.
Zachary says it's clear from the number of people turning out across the nation at rallies that change is needed. However, he says each community is different and so are its needs. He says they realized that the national Black Lives Matter doesn't necessarily match up with what is needed in Lawton.
"Us being from Lawton and Lawtonians know that Lawton is a very unique place. Our problem isn't heavy in police brutality. The Black Lives Matter national plan is heavy in reforming the criminal justice system, which is a good idea. But in Lawton, Oklahoma, that's not necessarily our biggest problem," Zackery said.
He believes the biggest problem in Lawton is economical. He would like to be able to identify the black-owned businesses, black mentors and other black leaders in the community in hopes of determining what they can do to help.
"On a larger scale, we have something we are working on called 'The Village,' under the concept of it takes a village to raise a child. So, you want to be able to identify everyone in your village, what they do, what they can bring to the village. So like I want to get my car fixed, I might not know all of the mechanics," he explained.
Zackery says getting the community to unite and fix the problem is what these rallies are all about; hoping to bring about change that will ensure a better future.
"We all have children that are going to grow up in society, grandchildren, and right now we all agree that the social climate is very uncomfortable. I'm sure we want our children to grow up in comfort," Zackery said.
Zackery believes a lot of people don't bother to look up the Black Lives Matter website, or even know they have a website. He said it was encouraging to see so many people at the rally interested in learning what the group is all about.