Chattanooga community leaders call for end to racism following George Floyd's death

Peaceful disobedience will be encouraged but cannot be guaranteed, the group said

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Protestors and police stand on opposite sides of Georgia Avenue near Miller Park on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn. The people were protesting the death of George Floyd. Floyd, 46, died after being handcuffed and pinned for several minutes beneath Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin's knee. Protests entered their third night in Chattanooga.

A joint letter from multiple organizations representing community and faith leaders in Chattanooga is calling for legislative and interpersonal changes to end racism.

The letter - supported by Chattanooga-Hamilton County BME District Association, Pilgrim Joy District Association, Clergy Koinonia, Servant Leadership, Kingdom Partners, Young Ministers Network and the local NAACP - details action steps for elected officials, people in the community and church members.

The leaders are requesting a meeting with Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy and Sheriff Jim Hammond to discuss changes to systems that promote racism.

"The reality is, African Americans have only lived with the possibility of equal rights for the past 54 years," the letter reads. "We have lived with injustices, indignity and racial bias/discrimination for more than 400 years, which is why waiting and asking for more patience from the black community is no longer an option."