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Memphis protest leaders talk about their methods and goals

DeVante Hill and Keedran Franklin lead peaceful protests in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tennessee —

We have hit a week of protests both nationally and right here in the Mid-South.

In Memphis, there have been various protests organized by different groups. Local 24 News reporter Brittani Moncrease speaks to some of the leaders of these protests about their methods and goals.

Sunday, protesters marched through Memphis streets with activist DeVante Hill as lead.  Sometime after, another group emerged.

"There was a group that was there that was counter protesting peaceful protests. They're under the ideology that the system is broken and the system cannot be fixed," said Hill. 

Activist Keedran Franklin stood at the head of the second group after the split. 

"Everyone's heart is centered into the right place, centered into one place. I think that we have different methodologies. We have different perspectives on how we want to go about seeing this change here in Memphis," said Hill. 

Not every perspective is 100% right.  During the Civil Rights era, there was also a difference in perspectives. Frank Gottie who runs "Put Them Guns Down Fight Like a Man," also led protests this week.

"It's a lot of people tired of walking in circles," said Gottie. "Walking in circles, that looks peaceful, but we can still shut down the highway and be peaceful. We did it that night." 

In 2016, Hill, Franklin, and Gottie worked together on the bridge protest. 

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"I'm not saying there's nothing wrong with what DeVante is doing. DeVante is doing a great job, but some things can be done different," said Gottie. 

"I respect their movement. I respect the way that they are moving," said Hill. 

It is a respect in which both want peace. 

"While I am frustrated, while I am very angry, I am a hurt black man much like a lot of us are. I'm also the son of two entrepreneurs," said Hill. "I understand the severity of coming off the back of a pandemic and going right into a season where you're afraid of losing your business."

"I'm just trying to make sure my city don't get burned down or our city don't get burned down. I'm just trying to make sure that everything goes right," said Gottie.

While nationally, protests have had critics, participants are standing up for themselves and what they believe in.  

"I don't think it's fair to police and judge people for how they deal with over 400 years of trauma, oppression, social and economic inequality, racism, police brutality. That's not our place," said Amber Sherman, Black Live Matter and Memphis Chapter of Young Democrats member.

Gottie and Hill say they will continue to show up for their community and push for change.

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