COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WYTV) – On Sunday, people in Columbiana came out for a peaceful rally to discuss how systemic racism impacts their town. Demonstrators said they’re glad everyone came together, but the real work begins after the rallies.
Sunday afternoon, nearly 100 people gathered on the lawn at the First Presbyterian Church in Columbiana to peacefully discuss the racial injustices in our world today.
Pastor Fritz Nelson of First Presbyterian says the first step is to listen to those affected in your community.
“Columbiana is a more and more multicultural community, but unless we listen to our neighbors that our different than us, we don’t know their experiences and then once we listen to them we have to walk alongside them,” said Pastor Fritz.
There was a prayer and eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence in honor of George Floyd.
One of the speakers was coordinator Monique Cobbins, who says she’s glad everyone came, but the action goes beyond the lawn.
“It’s not enough just to not be racist. You have to, in a way, be anti-racist and put a stop to it whenever you hear it from a friend or colleague or anybody,” Cobbins said.
Although there were disturbances from locals who didn’t agree with the rally, it remained largely peaceful.
When it was over, some locals said again that things shouldn’t stop here.
“Like one of the speakers said, this is the easy part. We have to take it beyond a protest, beyond a rally and influence other people that we are exposed to that may not have the same mindset,” said one protester, Linh Hoang.
“What they need to do is vote,” said Daniel Winston, candidate for 5th District State Representative. “Things are only going to change if we can get good people in positions of power to make great change happen. So let’s utilize our voices, but let’s utilize our voice as well.”