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College Students Organize Protest in Pennsburg
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            People in the Upper Perkiomen community are planning a protest to bring awareness to the systemic injustices in the United States towards people of color. On Thursday, some residents are planning a socially distanced gathering to protest racially charged brutality against African-Americans.

            The event – organized by two college students from East Greenville – is scheduled for 5 to 5:30 on Thursday, June 4 at the corner of Routes 663 and 29 outside Dunkin' Donuts and Rite Aid.

            Jackson Gray, a 2019 graduate of Upper Perkiomen, and Elizabeth Pierson, a 2017 graduate of UPHS, said they were motivated to hold a peaceful protest by the May 25 death of George Floyd, while in the custody of police in Minneapolis, Minn. The incident sparked protests across the country.

           The protest will take place on a public sidewalk, according to Gray, a business student at Bloomsburg University. Municipal officials have implemented a plan to maintain safety during the protest, according to Cody Belmont, Pennsburg's emergency management coordinator. He said Upper Perk police Chief Joe Adam has conferred with police departments in neighboring municipalities as well as other emergency responders.

           According to Pierson, who studies public health at Temple University, the intent is to make Valley residents – consisting mostly of white people – aware of their inherent biases and the systemic injustices in the United States towards people of color.

            "As a town that is majority white we need to recognize our privilege, educate ourselves to be culturally competent, become aware of our implicit and explicit biases, and use the power of our voices to help those who need it," the release states.

            Floyd, an African-American man, died after an officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. That officer, Derek Chauvin, has been fired from his job. He faces third-degree murder and manslaughter charges from the incident.

            "We need to be the change we wish to see. As members of the Upper Perkiomen community we do not support racism or violence towards each other or our community on a local or national level," the release states. "We support our families of color and we support our police officers. Upper Perkiomen has faced a pandemic, and acts of terrorism, murder, suicide, racism, homophobia, and sexism, but time and time again we prove that kindness and love defines our community, not hate."





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