May 2020

Columbus community leaders call for protestors, police to remain peaceful

Courtesy of ABC6

Friday, May 29th, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — Led by Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin, community leaders gathered Friday afternoon to call for protests in Columbus to remain peaceful.

This comes after protests in downtown Columbus turned destructive Thursday night. Many businesses were damaged during protests, as was the Ohio Statehouse.

“We’re here this afternoon because folks are tired,” Hardin said. “They’re tired of racism. They’re tired of black and brown folks die just for being black and brown. Folks are angry. Angry about blatant racism.”

Hardin said those tensions boiled over Thursday night in downtown Columbus and people want justice.

“Our job as leaders is to try to do what we know is right for all,” Hardin said.

Hardin said peaceful protests and civil disobedience are ways to turn the tide and become a more just society.

“Protest is good. Protest is right. Protest is the only natural expression of hurt people,” Hardin said.

Hardin asked the community to make their outrage heard through non-violent means. He said he was downtown Thursday for part of the protest, but said it changed and turned unsafe.

“We need people to be able to protest safely,” Hardin said. “That’s a responsibility that’s both on our shoulders, the shoulders of police, and anyone who shows up to protest.”

Hardin said civil disobedience is necessary, but violence has no place in that work.

He said as leaders its important to call out racism. Hardin said he is happy and appreciative the Franklin County Board of Health recently declared racism a public health crisis.

He announced Councilmember Priscilla Tyson will announce legislation Monday calling racism a public health threat.

Columbus Urban League President Nick Bankston said Thursday night’s protests were a fight for justice. He said the protests were a sign of pain. He said it was caused by a system that is broken.

Message now from Nick Bankston of @CULempowering – he is calling for protests – but says demonstration doesn’t equal destruction.

He says what we saw last night was a manifestation of pain.
Bankston said he is calling for protests, but said demonstration does not equal destruction.

“We have to make sure that our message is not diminished by violence and destruction of our city,” Bankston said.

Bankston also called on police to be peaceful during protests.

“I call to our officers to also approach the situation with restraint and empathy,” Bankston said. “What we all witnessed was horrific. There are police chiefs across the country who are speaking out because they saw the same thing that we saw. I’m asking for this to be a moment for all of us to use this as an opportunity to create a movement. A movement that doesn’t tear down buildings, but a movement that tears down strongholds, a movement that will tear down systemic racism and get to true change.”

Bankston said protestors have to make sure their message is heard in a safe manner.

by Jarrod Clay

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