More than 100 people protested peacefully in Downtown McAlester Wednesday, calling for change in the wake of George Floyd's death.
Protesters told News on 6 they hope their march sets an example for people across the state and around the country, showing that peace is also powerful.
Protesters Marchello Bell and Angela Wanecek have been married for over eight years. Bell is African American and Wanecek is Caucasian. The couple says they walked for acceptance.
"This is what we need, we need unity. There is a message here and we don’t want it lost because people want to be crazy and riot," said Bell.
"Love one another that’s all that matters have loved in your heart that’s all we ask," Wanecek added with tears in her eyes.
Protest organizer Pastor Anthony Washington says his goal was to show that peace can also inspire change.
"God just resonated in my spirit and let me know that I can’t be fearful about making sure that something is done, and to try to alleviate the problems that we keep facing over and over," Washington explained.
Interim Police Chief Kevin Hearod walked with the group and said he is thankful the protest remained peaceful. He also says he is eager to listen and learn from the community and make necessary changes.
"Obviously if things need to be tweaked, or if there’s a problem, we will fix it," Hearod said, "we try to do the best we can do for our community. They trusted us to protect and to serve and we don’t want to lose the trust.”
Pastor Washington says he hopes peaceful protests like theirs create change in cities across the country.
“Change will come when we continue to trust him and to lean on him. If we do that, the production of change will take place not only in McAlester but across the nation,” Washington stated.
District Attorney Chuck Sullivan also took part in today's protest. He told the group his office will strive for unity and fairness.