Opelika March

More than 200 people attended a march for Black Lives Matter in downtown Opelika on Saturday afternoon.

Two local ministers opened Opelika’s Ciity Council meeting Tuesday night.

Minister Kevin Flannagen of The Edge and pastor Hamlet Barnes of Mustard Seed Faith Center offered a joint prayer to show unity in light of the nation’s recent protests. Their message of unity and change carried on into the citizen communications portion of the meeting.

Some residents approached the council with overgrown land or property concerns while others came with their thoughts on how they can help the city’s racial progress.

“I want Opelika to be a beacon of light in the South where we have had the most racial injustice,” Opelika native Natalie Simpkins said.

In her remarks to the council, she called for residents to have access to the training materials used for the city police department, have teachers undergo bias management training and proposed that high school students be able to register to vote at school once they come of age.

Mayor Gary Fuller also touched on the tension during his remarks at the beginning of the meeting.

“I try to understand what they’re going through and to love them unconditionally,” Fuller said, emphasizing the importance of compassion and empathy. “Now is the time for our community to come together.”

Fuller also went on to praise the peaceful protest held at the county courthouse last weekend, believing that the protesters’ message was heard.

A large piece of business on the agenda was a resolution to award an $800,000 contract to East Alabama Paving Co. for a citywide project. This resolution was passed, along with another contract to Robinson Paving Co. to handle more general road improvements.

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