Bloomsburg’s community held a Black Lives Matter protest starting around 3 p.m. that drew hundreds and continued into the early hours of the night by the fountain at the intersection of Market and Main street Tuesday afternoon.
A barricade of students and townspeople of all ages formed under the traffic light on Main Street next to the PNC Bank.
Alongside chants of “Black Lives Matter”, protestors screamed in unison with the phrases, “No justice, no peace”, “Say his name”, and “I can’t breathe” just to name a few.
The noise didn’t just come from chants however, cars who drove by honking their horns in support of the protest were met with roaring cheers of support.
Nearly all protestors accompanied their chants with signs either sharing names of victims from police brutality, empathy, and support for the African American community’s war against police brutality and white supremacy.
A local proclaimed that this was the biggest protest he’s seen in the town in years.
Another protestor voiced,
“We can’t stay silent; we won’t stay silent.”
Walking around, many conversations on the growth of racial sensitivity and proactiveness in this community could be heard. While some in the community stood by in admiration, many came full of energy to make their voices heard.
Slight unrest arose a little over an hour into the protest as an elderly white man stood across the street from the protestors holding a “Trump 2020” flag. His arrival was met instantly with “Black Lives Matter” chants, significantly louder than any previous chants up until that point.
A Bloomsburg police truck arrived at the scene nearly a minute after the older gentleman’s arrival and talked with him for a couple of minutes before leaving. As the officer left, five to seven protestors crossed the street to form a circle around the older gentleman while holding up their signs.
The Trump supporter lasted 15 minutes longer before walking down to the other end of the town.
Prior to the protest, a little after 10 a.m. that morning Bloomsburg University President Dr. Bashar Hanna sent out a mass email adding support to the cause by issuing a statement on last week’s disgusting murder of George Floyd. He then built upon that statement, expressing his vision for BU’s community moving towards the future in combating these issues.
Hanna didn’t mince words at the beginning of his third paragraph saying,
“At Bloomsburg University, we have no tolerance for racism or discrimination.”
He added credence to that statement, detailing how Bloomsburg University remains strong because of the “embrace” shown towards its diverse community while continuing to “strive” for additional diversion with welcoming and inclusive attitudes.
BU’s president further shined a light on the University’s and community’s strong attributes, citing the greatest strength moving forward lies in their ability to educate the leaders of the future while being at the forefront of “open-minded” and “difficult” dialogue.
Students organized and led a protest last fall provided the best illustration of BU’s leadership in “peaceful” and “constructive” conversations according to Hanna.
Wrapping up his message, Hanna urged everyone in the community to stand alongside him in renewing their “belief” in the might of education while banning together as a whole to bring forth “meaningful” change not only at BU but for the global society.
Members of Bloomsburg University and community drew a line in the sand and made their stance clear on the current state of police brutality and white supremacy against the African American community.