On Saturday, a “Unified Peace Walk” will take place in Bristol Borough beginning 10 a.m with community members, elected officials and local law enforcement to providing assistance.
Organizers of the walk held meetings with Bristol Borough and Township officials throughout the week saying the walk is meant to be a peaceful demonstration and nothing more, sources told Lower Bucks Source all this week.
“It’s time for us to come together and create a change….violence will not be tolerated,” a post promoting the effort said on social media earlier this week in an effort to promote the event as a peaceful protest.
Throughout the week reports of the scheduled walk circulated through the area leading to heated discussions across social media platforms and in and around the community.
Peaceful protests were held in Levittown, Doylestown, and Lower Makefield this past week in Bucks County.
Those reports led to an outpouring of unfounded reports throughout the Lower Bucks area leading two police departments- Falls and Bristol Borough-to release statements earlier this week about non-credible threats of violence.
We are aware of the event and have been in contact with the organizers. We are taking steps with the assistance of other law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of the demonstrators and the community of Bristol Borough, said Bristol Borough Police Chief Steve Henry Thursday.
Keevon Johnson, Board President for Freedom Neighborhood One, a Bristol Township based non-profit that serves residents of the area and is one of the three organizations listed on the promotional flyer for the walk said today, the walk is not out of anger. We want our white people to become our allies in understanding what is going on nationally.
“What happened in Minneapolis isn’t happening here,” he said, “and we want to work with our local law enforcement that it never does.”
To educate people who say “I don’t see color” to seeing our blackness and the issues we often experience as a result of systemic racism is the point of the walk and to speak out against police brutality that is taken place nationally.
Officials from the Borough and Township will be walking with us as allies and we’ve already calendared a meeting with local law enforcement as part of the effort, Johnson said.
Tw0 additional organizations, Philadelphia based No More Pain, Inc and Bristol area You Are Not Alone (YANA), LLC are also sponsoring the walk that will begin at the Bristol Regional Rail Train Station parking lot.
This event, as it is with hundreds across the country, is not a Bristol Borough sanctioned event. With that knowledge, Borough officials have contacted and met repeatedly with the event organizers. The organizers of the event are adamant that this will be a peaceful event with no violence. The Borough has taken numerous steps to ensure the safety of the community and peaceful demonstrators, said an additional release from the department Thursday.
The murder and subsequent arrest of fired officer, Derek Chauvin, led to protests and demonstrations throughout the country prompting peaceful protests, demonstrations, rioting, heated discussions about race, inequality, and changes to policing.
Chavuin was charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter last week by prosecutors in Hennepin County. On Wednesday, his charges were upgraded to second degree murder and three other fired Minneapolis Police officers were charged for the murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day.
Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas K. Lane were charged with aiding and abetting murder according to the criminal complaint filed this week by prosecutors.
A video of the alarming incident showing Chauvin (a white officer) leaning on the neck of Floyd with his knee went viral earlier this week.
Chauvin held his knee against Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, according to the criminal complaint filed by prosecutors.
Johnson in response to the question as to whether members of the Black Lives Matter organization would be on hand said there is no connection in an official sense with the group but the rally is in accordance with the advocacy group’s stated mission.
We want to have an ongoing peaceful conversation and with officials taking part tomorrow we can begin to achieve that goal, said Johnson.
The march is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on Prospect Street proceeding to Beaver Street, to Buckley Street, to Bath Street, to Pond Street, to Mill Street Parking Lot, and then concluding at the Harriet Tubman Statue in Bristol Lions Park. Residents should be prepared for traffic delays during this time. The Mill Street parking lot will be closed for vehicle traffic from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m, officials said.
Editors Note: YANA, LLC was originally reported to be a non-profit in an earlier version of this story. That information was incorrect and the story has been corrected to reflect that error. We apologize for our error.