One year later, local activists plan to march again

13News Now reporter Jonathan Costen spoke with organizer Japhari Jones

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) - Japharii Jones is no stranger to controversy.  

Last year, the demonstrations by BlackLivesMatter757 in several cities were well supported and largely positive, but also shut down a portion of I-264 in Portsmouth, leading to a lot of criticism from detractors of the organization.

Now, on the one year anniversary of that event, Jones, the BlackLivesMatter757 President, says the organization is planning an event intended to "shut down" several Hampton Roads communities on Monday night.

Their Facebook page says the event will take place at 7:57 p.m. in several local cities.

"We will be shutting down Mercury Boulevard in Hampton, we will be shutting down Jefferson Boulevard in Newport News, we will be shutting down Granby Street in Norfolk, we will be shutting down the Oceanfront in Virginia Beach and we will be shutting down High Street in Portsmouth, Virginia," stated Jones.

Jones says he's been in contact with the police departments in these cities, but a spokesperson for one city's police department said that as of the end of the day Friday, no permit had been issued for a march.

Jones stated the marches are not "protests," but rather what he's calling "peace marches," because he said he is challenging participants to be a source for daily positive change for their communities. 

The planned event is getting a great deal of support on social media, but is also getting negative responses, such as from one man who identified himself as a Moyock, North Carolina firefighter, who uses expletives stating nothing will be shut down and he hopes the demonstrators get run over.  

The Moyock Fire Department is a volunteer unit, and its chief told 13 News Now he is aware of the post and the firefighter responsible for writing it has been suspended.

"Moyock Fire Department has strict policies regarding social media utilization and postings; this particular post is in direct violation of those policies," Chief Robert "Bobby" Pervere told 13News Now in an email. 

Jones hopes that, despite the negativity directed by some towards the Black Lives Matter movement, a positive message gets out as intended.

"If you're about autism awareness we're going to put you towards that,  if you're about suicide prevention and anti-bullying we'll give you initiatives and resources for that," Jones said.  

He added what else he hopes to accomplish "putting together the community as a whole and not pointing fingers and bashing anymore, and actually coming together for actual change."

Jones wouldn't provide any other details about the event, saying that those would be revealed at a news conference he plans to hold on Monday.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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