New State Representative Praises Barron for ‘Hands Up’ Gesture

Another state legislator has reached out to President Barron following his decision to pose with students protesting at one of last week’s die-in protests.

In a letter written to Barron today, Democratic state representative Jake Wheatley of Allegheny County praised his decision to stand with students following Republican representative Jerry Knowles’ call for an apology earlier this week.

“No matter how you feel regarding the tragic events that have led to these protests, we all should be able to accept that far too many unarmed black citizens have died at the hands of law enforcement for things that on their surface one would find trivial,” Wheatley said.

“So, I applaud your courage and that of young adults at Penn State and elsewhere who are standing up and asking their country to stop and see our imperfection and to do something to change it. I will continue to encourage my fellow colleagues in the General Assembly to stop and try to see these actions from the perspective of all the various stakeholders,” the letter read.

Though Barron’s “hands up” gesture has incited strong opinions from the Commonwealth legislature, few students have voiced concern over his actions. “I’m not making a political statement,” Barron said at the Faculty Senate meeting on Tuesday. “I’m making a statement about civility.”

Wheatley also sent out letters to Knowles and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman of Centre County to meet with students about their concerns with open-minded dialogue. He urged President Barron to set up the meeting between the students and legislators, with the possibility of inviting law enforcement members.

“We could also possibly arrange a meeting with the law enforcement community and (citizens) to discuss broader objectives and ways in which we can rebuild trust and respect within our communities across the Commonwealth,” said Wheatley.

Photo By: Mildred Williams

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About the Author

Ted Hozza

Ted is a senior majoring in Community, the Environment, and Development, or as his friends here at Onward State like to call it, Architecture. You can probably find him at the Phyrst late at night with other Onward Staters if he's not somewhere else editing articles. You can follow him on Twitter @TedHozza or email him at [email protected].

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