More than a thousand people took to the streets in downtown State College Sunday to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis who died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck.
Chanting “No justice, no peace!” and “say his name,” protestors started at the Allen Street Gate, then marched on College Avenue and Beaver Avenue. The march ended in front of the State College Municipal Building, where the police department is located.
Hundreds - likely thousands - are marching in downtown State College to protest the death of George Floyd and against police brutality. College Ave and Beaver Ave, between McAllister and Burrowes, are blocked. Protestors laid on the streets chanting "I can't breathe." @WPSU pic.twitter.com/wZo9jVAgc6
— Min Xian (@minxianwpsu) May 31, 2020
Speakers spoke out against police brutality and demanded reform in policing.
AnneMarie Mingo teaches African American Studies at Penn State and spoke at the march. She said she wants to see accountability in Floyd’s death, which was captured on video and has forced people to confront the issue head-on.
“It causes us to come together and to try to push and say, ‘Maybe this will be the time that there will be enough people who care that we can actually do real things that bring about change.’” Mingo said.
“We have experienced this here in State College,” she added. “We were there today for Osaze Osagie as much as we were for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade. Keeping the attention and accountability local is a part of the work that we all need to do.”
Protests nationwide, some of which turned violent, have spread following Floyd’s death.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf declared a disaster emergency Saturday in response to protests in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The declaration authorizes the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to direct emergency operations and allocates resources and personnel.
National Guard troops were also deployed across the state to aid law enforcement.
In a statement, Wolf said, “Everyone should speak out because no one should be at risk of harm because of oppression or racism.” But he urged protestors to do so peacefully and safely.