Hundreds in Stow, Silver Lake march against injustice
STOW – More than 400 people gathered at Stow City Hall Wednesday afternoon and walked to Silver Lake Village Hall in a peaceful demonstration for the Black Lives Matter movement.
”We’re tired of being treated like this and we need a change,” said organizer Dustin Hilton of Stow.
Before leaving, they knelt around the flagpole at City Hall with some raising a hand or fist for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to remember George Floyd Jr., who died May 25 while in the custody of Minneapolis police. Officer Derek Chauvin is facing murder charges after kneeling on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Floyd was heard to say, “I can’t breathe” before he died.
When the marchers reached Silver Lake Village Hall, they knelt for another 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
Most cars on Darrow and Graham roads honked in support of the marches. One man shouted “Go home!” from his car.
“It’s neat that people come out to express their view in a peaceful way,” said Stow Mayor John Pribonic, who joined the march. “The sheer number shows we need change in our country. Young people want to be included. This is how we change and bring awareness.”
Jenna Bates of Peninsula, who taught school in Stow for 16 years, held a sign saying “Teachers for Racial Justice.”
“I’ve had many black students and they deserve to be treated equally,” Bates said. “They have told me a myriad of stories about how they’ve experienced racism in their lives on a daily basis.”
She said police need to change the way they interact with the community.
“As a teacher I think it’s my duty to teach white students how we benefit from a white supremacy society,” Bates said. “If they recognize it, they can change it.”
But she said change may not happen in her lifetime.
“I teach to pass these lessons to the next generation,” she said.
Bella Perrotta, a senior at Stow-Munroe Falls High School, said she wants police brutality recognized every time it happens.
“As a part of this generation, it’s a part of our responsibility to make this a safe country to grow up in, and I want to be part of making that happen,” Bella said.
Kylie Murphy of Kent carried a sign with the message, “If you are not angry, you are not paying attention.” She is white but said she stands in solidarity with African Americans.
“I want to amplify black voices,” Murphy said. “My hope is there would be change in local communities.”
Bisa Harris of Stow said she was there to change people’s views on the Black Lives Matter movement and carried a sign with the words: “No justice, no peace. Black Lives Matter.”
“I want to open people’s eyes to anyone not aware of what is happening,” Harris said.
Harris said when her daughter was 3, she was playing at the park at city hall with a little boy until his father said he couldn‘t play with her because she was “brown.”
“He wouldn’t look me in the eye,” Harris said.
Caroline Gronowski of Bath carried a sign with the message, “Anger is what pain looks like in public.”
“To stage violence is to become one of the oppressors,” Gronowski said. “We are here to show solidarity and to bring issues and order.”
A sign held by Sydney Speer of Fairlawn read #8can’twait, which stands for eight reforms protesters are requested be adopted by police departments, including banning chokeholds and strangleholds; requiring de-escalation; requiring warning before shooting; exhausting all other means before shooting; a duty to intervene; banning police shooting at moving vehicles; requiring use of force continuum; and requiring comprehensive reporting.
Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at email@example.com