Monday’s question seemed to be, “Where is everyone?”
That was the common expression of the few protesters found outside the Harold K. Stubbs Justice Center in downtown Akron.
The recent murder of Jayland Walker, who was shot 60 times by Akron police on June 27, has sparked days of mostly peaceful but sometimes violent protests across the city.
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At around 7:30 p.m. Monday, the scene was peaceful as about 75 people gathered, just 90 minutes before a city-ordered curfew in the center was to go into effect.
By 9pm the crowd had completely disintegrated.
At one point, Jillian Smith was the only protester in the area. Smith is the manager of Elizabeth’s Bookshop & Writing Center in Highland Square, one of the few Black-owned bookstores in Ohio. She said the other bookstore employees would join her later.
“We specialize in transporting black writers and marginalized writers… those books are what we need to read now, because those are the books that teach white people to unlearn (false stories).”
Protest at Mayor Dan Horrigan’s home
That afternoon, it seemed as if “everyone” was outside Mayor Dan Horrigan’s house. At least 100 armed and unarmed people attended the protest, and at least two of them were arrested. Protest organizers made plans to rescue them from prison once the march came to an end.
The protest was organized by The Freedom Black Led Organizing Collaborative (BLOC), a local organization that aims to build black political power and equip the black community with capacity-building tools in civic education, civic engagement, campaign management and leadership development.
Initially, the protesters gathered at the intersection of Tallmadge Avenue and North Howard Street, before walking down Howard Street to Horrigan’s home. They then returned to the Family Dollar Store on Howard Street, where the executive director of The Freedom BLOC, Raymond Greene, gave a speech.
Contact Beacon Journal reporter Tawney Beans at [email protected]