New Wildcat Steps Up to Serve During Unrest

by Pamela Berry-Johnson

Posted on Jun 03, 2020

Heritage High School graduate Anthony Thomas recently captured the spotlight when he made a special trip to Atlanta to help clean up the city following Saturday night's emotional protests against racism and police brutality.

Hundreds had taken to the streets in downtown Atlanta in protest of George Floyd's death in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Because some businesses were damaged as a result of the unrest that occurred later that evening, Anthony Thomas told his mother he wanted to make a trip downtown to help clean up the city.

Thomas, who will be a freshman biology major at Fort Valley State University in the fall, said he had attended the peaceful march on Saturday morning. He said it was important for him to return and support the clean up after he saw some of the destruction that had occurred later that evening. He chided those who'd set fires and vandalized businesses in downtown Atlanta. In both a CNN video and Georgia Public Radio broadcast, Thomas called for peaceful protests.

"I understand the validity of our pain, what we are going through, and how we feel," said the 18-year-old. "It is a hard issue for our nation, for our culture and for our world. The word says to be angry, but sin not. I agree with your pain. I agree with your anger. I agree with your frustration. But I do not agree with you destroying our city and with destroying the things that our people have built and that our people have worked so hard to develop. We're better than this. We're better than the vandalism."

Thomas, a youth minister at the Voice of Faith Ministries in Stone Mountain, Ga., urged others to reject violence and adopt the peaceful method of protest used by Civil Rights Icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"We're better than the rage and the fires that we have started...... As a people, we have to do better. It's not that peaceful protesting is not powerful. It's how we do it and how we press toward the mark."

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