The biggest business item handled by the Atmore City Council during the Monday, May 8, meeting wasn’t even on the agenda.
After council members voted unanimously to approve a business license for Mobile-based Newman Medical Services, which serves as stand-by medical transport for Atmore Ambulance Service at Atmore Dragway events, and Mayor Jim Staff announced that the month’s second scheduled council meeting would be canceled due to its coinciding with the annual League of Municipalities meeting, Staff paused before asking for a motion to adjourn.
“I believe Rev. (Harold) Askew has something he wants to say,” the mayor said.
Askew was seeking council approval for a second Love Walk, a unity event held last July in response to feelings of unrest that evolved in the wake of numerous police shootings across the country.
“The mayor has been on me to try and get another one established,” the local minister said. “We had a wonderful time last year, but this year we want to make it different, to make things bigger than we had last year.”
Askew said he had talked with Billy Bailey of the Poarch Police Department and with several other groups who might be interested in joining the community unity effort this year, including the National Day of Prayer Committee.
“We have some other organizations who say they want to be a part of it this year,” he said. “I’ve already been contacted by the committee that handled the National Day of Prayer, and they want to be involved, and I’ve had other civic organizations who have said they want to be involved this year. My problem is getting a date together. The mayor contacted me and said he would like to have it before the weather gets too hot but our dates are kind of colliding.”
Last year’s walk was held on July 17, the third Sunday in July, and Askew said he would like to follow suit this year.
“I checked my calendar, and July 16 seems to be that same Sunday,” he said. “Maybe we can make that an annual thing, so I’m asking approval to start planning for that date. Hopefully we can get more people involved.”
The pastor said he wanted to make the event “a day of love, where we all come together and just have one big, happy gathering. Billy Bailey, my daughter (Sharonda Askew) and I want to start planning so we can have everything in order by the time of the walk. We want time to really get this thing planned so we can get better participation than we did last year.”
The council voted unanimously to allow the event to be held on July 16, and to keep the same route as last year, when nearly 300 people marched from city hall, down Presley Street to Craig, then down Craig and across Main Street to Heritage Park.