Let me start off by saying I support Black Lives Matter. There is a problem in the United States with young black people, especially men, being targeted and treated differently in the justice system due to race.

With that being said, I DO NOT BELIEVE that a lot of the anti-protesters were there because of racism.

The Black Lives Matter protesters in Rogersville were a group of non-violent, peaceful protesters. They had no intention of committing any crimes, rioting, or anything of the sort.

However, the media portrays BLM protesters as rioting maniacs. We have been flooded with images of riding, violence, and fear.

I believe the Rogersville native protesters showed up out of fear of the unknown, out of what they were afraid was going to happen, out of what they see on the news happening here in Rogersville. I believe they were there to protect the city from what we see in the media. AGAIN, THE BLM GROUP HAD NO INTENTION OF ANY OF THAT.

I do believe both sides (minus the white supremacist group) are for the same things ... justice, equality, and unity.

I believe the lack of communication bred fear. That fear caused a lot of people to react negatively.

I believe with COMMUNICATION, we all would have been protesting TOGETHER. Not an ‘us’ and ‘them’.

I hope we are given the opportunity to have the same Black Lives Matter group come back to Rogersville, and we can do it over again, but with a completely different outcome.

Hopefully, we can show the world that Rogersville is a loving community.

Julie Francisco