Hundreds of protestors marched for more than three hours Saturday from Market Square and then across Downtown to advocate for policy changes following long-held frustration with police brutality.
“I know today is around 95 degrees, but I’m gonna still need you to come with the same energy as always,” 18-year-old organizer Nick Anglin said at the beginning of the event.
The protest, part of Black Young, & Educated’s “Civil Saturdays” series that began in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, brought together a multi-racial group of people who marched and chanted from 3 p.m. into the evening. Protestors primarily urged changing Section 508 of the Pennsylvania statutes, which details when a police officer can use force. Activists argue the language is overly broad, allowing police to carelessly use force.
The demonstration engendered plenty of emotion throughout the day, and some speakers teared up. After an especially emotional eight minute and 46 second moment of silence to remember Floyd toward the end of the day, one activist suggested the crowd destress by screaming as loudly as possible. Multiple long, guttural screams ensued.
The group regularly stopped to allow for speakers to give remarks and for individuals to give out water, sports drinks and snacks.
Some protestors noted the date: Independence Day.
“I want to thank you all for coming out today because you realize that July 4th is not a day to celebrate until all of us have freedom,” Anglin said.
Dena Stanley, head of local activist group Trans YOUniting, spoke about the need for diversity in Black Lives Matter protests.
“This is what I like to see,” Stanley said.