Community Members Protest In State College For Third Straight Week
State College community members gathered downtown once again Sunday afternoon to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
For the third straight week, protesters packed College Ave. and Allen Street and demanded reform by marching through the streets, creating signs, and delivering speeches.
Like the ones before it, Sunday’s protest began on College Ave. before moving throughout the borough and winding up at the State College Municipal Building on Beaver Ave.
The protest, which began at noon, followed the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others.
Locally, though, protests have focused on the death of Osaze Osagie, a State College man killed in March 2019 by police serving a mental health warrant. The 3/20 Coalition, a local advocacy group founded following Osagie’s passing, has organized and led some demonstrations in town.
Osagie’s parents, Sylvester and Iyun, both spoke at Sunday’s protest outside the State College Municipal Building. They commended community members for continuing to stand up for these causes and implored local officials to create change however they can.
“I don’t have people I consider to be my enemies. Even if I did, I would not wish on them what we experienced with the loss of our son,” Sylvester Osagie said. “The demand for justice, equity, and humane treatment is a just demand and it is the right thing to do.”
Sylvester continued, adding he’s proud to live in State College and hopes its community will continue advocating for meaningful reform within the borough.
“State College is a beautiful town, with beautiful people. We are blessed to have been able to call this town our home for 28 years,” Sylvester Osagie said. “This is why we are calling on every sector of this society, including members of the police department to join us in calling for serious, well-meaning police reform — reform that includes accountability and transparency so that no family again experiences the loss of a child in such a tragic fashion.”
Iyun Osagie continued that sentiment when she spoke next. She expanded upon Sylvester’s thoughts and added civil rights must be protected above all else.
“No matter the race we must believe we belong here and that the laws work for everyone,” Iyun Osagie said. “Excessive force, microaggressions, systemic racism, and injustices of every stripe must stop. It is when people stand up to say enough is enough that barriers to fairness fall. It is when people stand up to say enough is enough that evil gives way to light. We have to resist evil. That which is evil will not go away simply because we hope it will. Evil must be actively resisted.”
She added local law enforcement should focus on accountability and transparency moving forward.
“I say to the police, speak up when you see injustice in your ranks,” Iyun Osagie said. “Speak up when you know in your heart that certain actions and behaviors are reprehensible. It is not high moral ground to side with evil.”
Following the Osagies’ speeches, protesters returned to College Ave. and used chalk on streets and sidewalks to write messages and display victims’ names as a tribute.
Community members plan to continue protesting until midnight Sunday.
We’ll update this post with more information as it becomes available.
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Garcia is the first known Penn State student to die after contracting the virus.
“We will no longer sit back and watch as the university continues to disrespect and misuse its BIPOC students.”
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