Hundreds Fill Downtown Oneonta Plaza for Peaceful ‘Social Justice Rally’
Hundreds of protesters converged on to Oneonta's Muller Plaza in downtown Sunday afternoon for a "social justice" rally in the wake of the death of George Floyd earlier this week. Under sunny skies and with temperatures in the upper sixties, the crowd was orderly as they listened to speeches and chanted "We Are Family," "No Peace, No Justice," and "We Are All Americans." The crowd filled Muller Plaza and was three deep along the sidewalk across Main Street.
The rally was peaceful and last about 90 minutes.
Lynda Calkins, of Oneonta, was at the rally and said, "I am a Christian and I am disgusted with the obvious inequality in America. I have a 26 year old son and I am so glad I don't have to have "that talk" with him. I know I have white privilege and I need to do something because it takes each of us to make a choice, and all of us to make a change."
Otsego County Representative Clark Oliver was there. "I am so proud of Oneonta. Protesting injustice is one of the most patriotic things we as Americans can do. I am so proud to have been a part of this group of change-makers today."
Lee Fisher, the president of the Oneonta Chapter of the NAACP, said in a statement: “We could go back to Emmett Till in Mississippi, Ronna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, Eric Garner in New York, Trayvon Martin and just a few weeks ago, Ahmaud Arbery, in Georgia shot dead running through a predominately white neighborhood, along with many others too numerous to list or mention. We are not surprised, we are angry. This moment is calling us to stay strong even though we are outraged,” said Fisher. “And now, more than ever, we must fight and demand justice, and ‘When we fight, we win.'
Lydia Murrow attended with some friends from Delaware County. "We came to show support for our brave police men and women who are keeping us safe every day. We are also here to celebrate our freedom of expression and opinion."
Dani Pefft, a Schenevus graduate, attended with Rey Nunez: "Personally I am tired of feeling guilty of sitting behind Facebook and not participating. I am here in support of my community and my country as a whole."
Adam Grosbeck is the President of the Otsego County Young Republicans organization. He stood alone holding a giant American flag: "Despite our many differences, I am here today as proof that we all should come together as one. I am wearing a "Sunday Funday" T-shirt, and that is what I would much rather be doing today. Having fun. But this is just too important."
Mark Warren, from Delhi, said he just came over to see what it was all about: "Call me a bystander, I guess. I really don't support rallys like this but it is a free country. I am glad to see it is going so peacefully."
Three young Oneonta women, Brandi, Terry and Shelby spoke as one: "This crowd is awesome and amazing. It is organized beautifully and is so peaceful. We are so happy to be here with our community."
Here are some images from the rally: