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Two sides to every protest story

Jun 30, 2020 6:33 am
There continue to be many protests across the Hudson Valley and Catskills, and in Western Massachusetts since the police murder of George Floyd on May 25. The Berkshire Eagle reports that April Harwood, who is about to enter the 10th grade, organized one June 27 in Lenox. Despite a rainstorm, about 80 people lined up along Main Street. "We have the power to change things if we keep the momentum," Harwood said from beneath an umbrella. "But, a lot of people are forgetting about it. It was time that we do a protest. It's not over." Another teenager attending, Erin Czelusniak, said, "These are people who are passionate, even if they're cold and a little damp. They want to show up. Even in little towns like this, we don't get enough representation for Black people in our community." Harwood said school officials had previously ignored her reports of racial incidents at Miss Hall's School. "They kind of harassed and bullied all the nonwhite students," she said of fellow students at the time. "I talked to the principals and nothing really changed. You weren't getting in trouble for being racist." But some of her teachers, a dean and the head of school, Julia Heaton, were across the street from the protest, and helped promote it online, including a June 2 statement of solidarity with the principles of the Black Lives Matter movement. Heaton praised Harwood across Main St. "This is all her, of course. We're all happy to celebrate her great work." In Rosendale this weekend, protesters turned over the microphone at one point to Rosendale Chief of Police Scott Schaffrick, and it did not go particularly well. PLAY THIS BRIEF EXCERPT HERE. There are more local protests planned this week. On July 1 in Troy, theater companies will show their solidarity with the African American community at a 1 p.m. event in Riverside Park. At 4:30 p.m. on July 1, there are standing weekly protests in Ghent, Chatham, and Kingston. On July 2 at Cantine Field in Saugerties there is a "Together as One" event. And on July 4 there is a large protest and teach-in at the Elting Memorial Library in New Paltz.