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[Photo Story] State College Protests Give Chalk Art New Meaning

The State College community gathered Sunday to protest police brutality and racial injustice for the third week in a row.

The protests featured marches throughout the borough, colorful signs and posters, and speeches from notable figures such as the Sylvester and Iyun Osagie, the parents of Osaze Osagie, a State College man shot and killed in March 2019 by police serving a mental health warrant.

However, Sunday’s demonstrations added a new element to the mix: street chalk.

Protesters busted out thick sticks of chalk to write messages on College Ave. and Allen Street and honor those who’ve lost their lives to police brutality. Their colorful words lined the borough’s streets and sidewalks and left lasting messages following the protests.

Courtesy of Jessie Orndorff

Chalk demonstrations began when protesters returned to the Allen Street Gates after marching to the State College Municipal Building. There, they began writing messages ranging from tributes to police brutality victims to calls for reform.

Courtesy of Jessie Orndorff
Courtesy of Jessie Orndorff

Although many messages honored Osagie, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other victims of police brutality, some were left to pay homage to the lesser-known names that haven’t garnered national attention.

Other chalk art featured “Black Lives Matter” slogans and symbols.

Courtesy of Jessie Orndorff
Courtesy of Jessie Orndorff

College Ave. quickly filled with chalk art messages as the protests continued Sunday afternoon.

Courtesy of Kevin Horne

Some messages focused on law enforcement and called on officers to work toward promoting accountability and transparency among their ranks.

Courtesy of Jessie Orndorff

“I say to the police, speak up when you see injustice in your ranks,” Iyun Osagie said Sunday. “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.”

Although protesters cleared as the afternoon continued, their messages remain throughout the borough…at least until the next rain.


A special thank you to friends of the blog Kevin Horne and Jessie Orndorff for sharing their photos with our staff!

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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