A Muskogee minister who held a Unity March on Monday said our community is unique because residents knows "how to rally together in a dignified way to resolve issues and problems," and we believe Muskogee could be a model for others.

The Rev. Rodger Cutler, Muskogee Branch president of the local NAACP, hoped to seize the momentum in the wake George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers by Building a Bridge to Reconciliation.

Cutler said Muskogee residents are unique in that they respond to tense situations with a sense of calmness and "a spirit of unity." He said a local response to Floyd's death is necessary, "but we did not want the violence that we saw in other towns."

There have been events in Muskogee that could have turned violent. For example, when a police officer fatally shot Terence D. Walker, 21, in January 2015, dozens of people were in a nearby church at a wedding in which Walker had threatened everyone in the building. The Rev. A.H. Jones calmed the crowd following the shooting, which some people who had been in the church witnessed. Jones told the crowd that Walker had a gun, and the officer had no choice but to shoot Walker.

Had Jones not been there, things could have escalated. His voice of reason rung throughout the community. No violence followed the shooting. In this instance, the community on hand followed Jones' lead, and the shooting was ruled justified by the district attorney.

Violence in our city is usually caused by a few people. But Muskogee has many people who work together, play together and worship together. The city has that spirit of unity, and we hope that unity grows to include all Muskogee residents.

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