Myrtle Beach NAACP: 'Bikefest is not the problem'

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Myrtle Beach Chapter for the NAACP is talking about the Memorial Day weekend violence, outside the Myrtle Beach City Hall Thursday at 10 a.m.

Mickey James, the chapter president, said he is against the violence, but believes government response by Governor Nikki Haley is unnecessary. He wants to push for more transparency and knowing what the future plans are.

"We want to come to the table, have a seat at the table, be included in the conversation when you discuss this," said James during the press conference.

James also believes there is an attitude problem, and doesn't want to make this a black and white issue – these problems happen everywhere. He said the city needs to set an example, and is in favor of more safety. If that includes more police presence, "so be it," James said, but that's not the only answer.

"[City officials] can afford to bring in millions of dollars for one weekend, but can't afford to bring in officers year-round to deal with problems," expressed James in reference to tax money allocated to public safety for next year's Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Community activists believe ending Bikefest will be a temporary fix to more permanent problems plaguing the City of Myrtle Beach.

James said that the Memorial Day Bikefest event takes place on one weekend out of the year – the event has attracted people for years, and says basically a few bad apples are ruining it for everyone.

"Bikefest is not the problem. It is not going to stop bikers from coming here. The problem may be that we're not planning right for the influx of people coming to Myrtle Beach during the Memorial Day Weekend," agreed Jerry Faulk, a community activist with the Mt.Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church in Conway.

While James doesn't claim to have all the answers, he does want to be a part of the discussion. He said the NCAAP has not been a part of the discussions for plans up to this point.

"Why didn't you call us in?" James asked about the meeting between Governor Nikki Haley and Atlantic Beach officials.

Other community activists agree there needs to be transparency and inclusion between city officials and the NAACP.

"To give the city the perception it needs. One side can not do it. Somehow we have to break down the walls and come together at the same table, put whatever it is we have on the table and work from that perspective of how we can all bring ideas in order to grow the city," suggested Faulk.

The NAACP plans to hold a Moral Monday event for the community to voice concerns over the rally and the holiday weekend.

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