Groups plan march at Virginia Beach Oceanfront calling for end to discrimination

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Groups are planning to march at the Oceanfront on Saturday, calling for an end to what they see as a culture of discrimination and cronyism in the city.

A Facebook page for the event says the march also aims to call for the city to undergo a disparity study to examine whether minority business owners face a tougher time getting city contracts.

City council is moving forward with the study, sending out a Request for Proposal next week.

NFL Hall of Famer and businessman Bruce Smith started the push for the study late last year. “I think you’ll see a lot of small businesses, a lot of women, a lot of Oceanfront people down on Atlantic Ave., that support this march," Smith said. "Cronyism is real.”

The city billed organizers $5,470 for costs related to the march, according to city spokesperson Julie Hill. The costs will cover police and traffic operations expenses. Forty officers will be at the march, according to a copy of the bill sent to News 3. The group could've asked for a waiver of fees, but didn't, Hill said.

Organizers wrote on their application that they expect a max crowd of 1000, but wrote 300 to 400 people are anticipated. It's about "allowing our voices to be heard, doing it in a peaceful demonstration,” Smith said.

The march is scheduled to be on Atlantic Avenue from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, starting at Rudee Loop and going up to the Cavalier Hotel.

Related:

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2 discrimination cases made against Virginia Beach grab attention of Human Rights Commission

Watch: Va. Beach Mayor Will Sessoms responds to Bruce Smith’s race issue claims