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Community Activists Focus On Message Of Hope, Change Ahead Of More Protests In Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- A day after thousands marched the streets of Boston demanding change, community activists are getting ready for another round of protests.

"Tomorrow we'll be protesting at Franklin Park, around 5 p.m., so far we have a little bit over 4,000 people confirmed on the Facebook page," said Monica Cannon-Grant, one of the rally's organizers.

Cannon-Grant is the founder and CEO of Violence in Boston, she and members of the Boston chapter of Black Lives Matter are planning Tuesday's rally.

They'll stage a "die-in" and encourage demonstrators to lie still for eight minutes and 46 seconds -- the amount of time Derek Chauvin is seen on video with his knee to George Floyd's neck.

Cannon-Grant said their message will echo the people's call for a systemic shift.

"We have to put legal ramifications in place to make sure we can hold the police accountable the same way we hold community members accountable," said Cannon-Grant. "We live in a city that is resource-rich but it's not equitable for communities of color."

Racial tensions coming to a head, amidst a pandemic, is unprecedented Reverend Liz Walker admits.

"I'm a minister this is almost, this is biblical. I might as well say that, to have all of this happen at one time is unheard of and it makes you wonder about the bigger picture," Walker said.

Look no further than the coronavirus crisis to spotlight racial disparities. Data finds that black Americans are dying of COVID-19 at a rate three times higher than whites. Then there's the economic fallout devastating working-class communities of color. Walker said all of it is tied to generations of structural racism.

"What you're seeing now is a problem that has been ignored: America's original sin," said Walker. "It's interesting that it would come at this time, under this administration and this political environment. I think we have to deal with it now."

The Roxbury Presbyterian senior pastor said talking about racism and bias with our family and in our communities is a good start.

"We have to start tending to each other's wounds and recognize that we're all wounded in a horrible way," Walker said. "As depressing and horrible as this is, I'm going to hold on to hope. And I want people to know that you can always have hope."

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