PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - An organizer hopes to take his peaceful march planned for Friday in Phoenix to the next level and spark change in the law.
"We really want to elevate it, put some pen to paper and make some changes," said Kenneth Smith, who is putting together the Unity March For Peace.
He said the march is similar to other peaceful protests in Phoenix but this comes with a platform and a legislative proposal to end systemic racism here in Arizona. Supporters want funding for accountability, transparency and civilian review boards for all local and state-level law enforcement agencies in Arizona.
"Poder in Action" is the group asking to cut police funding, stating that the City Council should instead "invest that money in programs that create safe and healthy communities."
They also believe there should be diversity, inclusion and communication training for police and first responders every year. Also, part of the education initiative would be diversity classes for eighth-graders. The platform also includes a "community police officer" for high crime neighborhoods and new criteria for hiring and training police officers.
"How can we turn the page and root out the systemic racism because it's only as good as the people in it," said Smith.
He and his supporters will take their platform straight to the Governor's Office. The march will start around 5:30 p.m. at the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix near Third Avenue and Roosevelt Street and follow Central Avenue down to Washington Street and then go west where it'll end at the state Capitol. The route will have police escorts and there will be water stations because it is supposed to be in the triple digits.
Smith also emphasized that the march will be peaceful and that every person from every background will be welcome. More information can be found on the Facebook event page.