Letter to the editor: Don’t deny our right to peacefully demonstrate

Local pastor and former Lynnwood City Council president M. Christopher Boyer wrote the below letter to Lynnwood Today after the Washington Poor People’s Campaign was denied permits for a peaceful demonstration on Monday, May 28.

According to Rev. Bianca Davis-Lovelace, organizer for the Washington Poor People’s Campaign, government officials and police department representatives denied their permits because the group denied to reveal their tactics. Davis-Lovelace also said authorities took issue with the use of bullhorns inside the building during a previous demonstration and were upset that the group stayed inside the building past closing time. She also said the permits had previously been issued, but were revoked.

Below is a letter from Boyer in response.


I write to you not only as a citizen of the United States and of the State of Washington but also as a former Lynnwood City Council president and as a pastor in a tradition which puts a high value on the virtues of liberty and justice.

I was appalled to hear from Rev. Bianca Davis-Lovelace that authorities were considering denying permits for the Washington Poor People’s Campaign to peacefully assemble and exercise our constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom of speech in Olympia on Monday, May 28. Our previous rallies and march in Olympia have been peaceful, respectful of others, and without any hint of violence, whether in action or in speech.

All participants have signed a covenant of non-violence, promising to respect the rights and property of others and to refrain from any threatening actions or speech. Masks are not permitted, nor are weapons. We demonstrate for the plight of the underrepresented of our country and for basic civil and human rights, including the right to form meaningful labor associations.

Let me encourage the public and state authorities to review the platform of our organization at www.poorpeoplescampaign.org. I’m sure you will find a great deal there that you, too, believe in.

In these difficult days, we must find opportunities to stand together rather than standing in opposition to each other. This is not the time to put barriers in front of people of goodwill who seek only to better the lives of others.

Now, I urge those with the power to do so to reconsider any hasty decisions you may have made regarding hindering this Poor People’s Campaign, which is donning the mantle dropped by our founder Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. upon his assassination fifty years ago.

Sincerely and hopefully,
​​​​Rev. M. Christopher Boyer
Good Shepherd Baptist Church

  1. Thank you, Rev. Boyer, for your respectful yet insistent letter. I know many in the community who agree with you. The permits should not have been revoked and we hope they will be granted in the future. Certainly a little negotiation could have gone a long way if the main issue was use of bullhorns in the building!

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