MACON, Ga. — In light of all that's happening in our community, 13WMAZ is committed to offering space in our newscasts and on our website for people to offer perspective and hope.
We know how important both talking and listening is at this moment.
We are calling these stories "Crucial Conversations."
Reverend Walter Glover Jr. has been the pastor at Greater Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church since 1975.
Tuesday, he spoke with our Zach Merchant about the protests nationwide, what led up to them, and what comes next.
Glover said watching protests devolve into rioting fills him with "disappointment" and "disgust."
"Disgusted at the way that we are behaving, some of our people are behaving," he said. "The protest that they are doing as far as burning, breaking in to businesses, trying to get, I guess, their attention of the owners of businesses and the world in general. There is a different way."
That different way, he says, is peaceful.
"We are about peace and what is happening now is bringing about more division, more chaos, and it is hurting us as a community," he said.
But the reverend is proud of how Central Georgia's protests have, so far, embodied those values.
"I hope that we as a city, Macon-Bibb, set an example to the world, to the country, that we can protest and we can have events and that they can be done in a peaceful way," said Glover.
He understands--and feels--the frustration of demonstrators.
Glover has been the pastor at Greater Zion Hill Baptist Missionary Church for more than four decades.
When asked how much has changed in terms of racial justice since then, Glover said "very little."
"I would think that in 2020, that we should not be really dealing with racism now," he said. "We've gone through that. We've done that. We've experienced that, and now we're having to rehash, seemingly, to go back over what we've done 40, 50 years ago."
And he said those who may argue that the deaths of George Floyd and others, while abhorrent, are examples of one-off events haven't been paying close enough attention.
"One is too many," he said. "But this is a repeated happening and it must come to an end. It must stop. It's senseless. It's without merit and the approach that was taken (by Minneapolis police officers) was totally out of order."
"The time is over, if I may say, for first- [and] second-rate citizens," said Glover. "We are all a part of the human race and we should extend ourselves and extend love, brotherly love, toward one another."
As for what comes next, Glover called for a change in leadership.
"Leadership is paramount and this leadership must start from the top," he said. "When I say top, from the White House down to our house, and the example should be set from a national standard, and that we are not getting."
"I'd like to see a leader of a national standard talking peace, not hatred," he continued, "Not sowing seeds of discord, not planting thorns and thistles and causing a great divide in the people of our country."
While "it won't happen overnight," Glover is confident progress is on the horizon.
"Oh, yes, we'll get through it," he said. "It'll take a minute, but we will survive and we will be victorious."
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