“My purpose was bringing the community together.”

A Manager's March and His Connection to the Crowd

The pace was slow but steady as friends, acquaintances and strangers blanketed a sidewalk underneath the mid-June, Mississippi sun. Signs were waved. Masks were worn. Elbows were bumped. People gathered on a Saturday morning to express their desire for change during an organized march.

 

A hometown native had scheduled and organized the march, which was titled: Peace, Unity and Justice. That hometown native is Ramondo James, who also happens to be a Store Manager at Store 2720 in Madison. When the walk began, he was leading from the front.

 

“The route that I wanted was one where we could be seen,” Ramondo said.

 

The route snaked along a highly visible section of Clinton, Mississippi – the town where Ramondo grew up. For him, the movement is personal. Following the killing of George Floyd, Ramondo watched on social media as protests grew, and frustrations over racial inequity mounted across the country.

 

He was moved to do something.

Ramondo James speaks at the Peace, Unity and Justice March in Clinton, Mississippi
Ramondo James speaks at the Peace, Unity and Justice March in Clinton, Mississippi
Store Manager Ramondo James works at Store 2720 in Madison, Mississippi
Store Manager Ramondo James works at Store 2720 in Madison, Mississippi

“What I wanted to do was do it the right way, not just show up on some corner with 500-1,000 people marching and it shut down the city,” Ramondo said. “My purpose was bringing the community together.”

 

Ramondo has been with Walmart for 10 years. The father of three started his current Store Manager role last December. Being back near his hometown motivated him to do more. He wanted to make sure he led by example in everything he did.

 

“I can’t be one way at work and be another way outside of work,” Ramondo said. “I’m all in.”

 

The march came together with the help of two friends. The group of three planned the event, consulted with city leaders, secured permits and lined the route with water stations. What followed was an overwhelmingly positive response. Ramondo described the sight as a sea of a melting pot of people.

 

“As I looked back, I kind of got emotional,” Ramondo said. “It was almost 50-50 white and black.”

 

The success of the event has encouraged Ramondo to consider making it an annual thing. He hopes to establish it as a 5K that takes place every year on the Saturday after Juneteenth. Proceeds from it would be directed to benefit the city or a nonprofit in the area.

 

“It’s just a humbling feeling that you can bring so many people together that don’t even know each other,” Ramondo said. “And, they’re asking for you to do more.”

 

The hope is he will look back at his inaugural march as a moment when steps were taken, in more ways than one.

Ramondo James leads the Peace, Unity and Justice March in Clinton, Mississippi


“It’s just a humbling feeling that you can bring so many people together that don’t even know each other. And, they’re asking for you to do more.”

— Ramondo James


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