The Black Student Association at Pittsburg State University, along with members of the Pittsburg community including Marti Sinclair, community organizer, will hold a rally at 2 p.m. Monday in Immigrant Park at 106 W. 2nd St. in downtown Pittsburg, PSU noted in a press release Friday. The rally is open to the public.
Black Student Association President D’Andrč Phillips and Assistant Director of Student Diversity Programs Emely Flores said the rally will be a peaceful way to make voices heard and bring the community of Pittsburg together in solidarity.
“We encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to attend and show that they will not stand for these racial injustices within our community or elsewhere,” Phillips said in the release.
Also on Friday, Pittsburg City Manager Daron Hall issued a statement regarding the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and recent national events that have followed it.
“My heart is broken by what I have seen in recent days following the tragic death of George Floyd. As a parent, I am struggling to explain to my kids how his death was even possible. Why, they ask, did he have to die? Answers are not easy,” Hall said in his statement.
“Communities across the country are standing up and expressing their frustration with the systemic racism that has existed in our nation for generations. We must listen and move forward together.”
Rally organizers cited these examples of senseless tragedies for the Black/African American community in recent months:
– On Feb. 23, Ahmaud Arbery was murdered while running in his neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia.
– On March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by the Louisville, Kentucky, Metro Police Department.
– On May 11, in Oklahoma City, Travis Miller, a delivery driver, was blocked from leaving a gated neighborhood by two members of the homeowner’s association.
– On May 25, while bird watching in New York City’s Central Park, Christian Cooper experienced a disturbing confrontation during which a woman called the police on him after he asked her to leash her dog where it was required by law.
– On that same day, George Floyd lost his life after a Minneapolis police officer detained him by pressing his knee into his neck. In his last moments of life, Floyd cried out, “I can’t breathe."
The rally will include speakers PSU Director of Student Diversity Deatrea Rose, PSU Director of University Police Stu Hite, and others from the community, according to the PSU release.
“Please join us as we stand with those spreading awareness and giving their all to achieve racial justice and equality for all," Rose said.
In his statement Friday, Hall also discussed local law enforcement in Pittsburg.
“I want to express how incredibly proud I am of the Pittsburg Police Department. Our officers have worked hard to build an atmosphere of trust, respect and integrity. Our police department is constantly looking for ways to give back, lend a hand, and go above and beyond to serve and protect our friends and neighbors. The men and women of the Pittsburg Police Department help make our community a great place to live,” Hall said.
“That being said, we can always look for ways to improve. We have an excellent relationship with our citizens and I am currently working with our team at the police department to determine ways we can make it even better,” he continued.
“I am pleased by the messages I’ve received over the past several days from our citizens who have shared an outpouring of love and support for the black community. You make me proud to live in Pittsburg,” Hall said.
“Let’s come together and make it known that racism and hatred are not welcome in our community.”