Three groups, two locations and overall a protest that ended without any major incidents reported took place in Morrisville on Saturday where hate was spewed from an unexpected corner of the park.
The Black Lives Matter March Against Hate in Morrisville taking place in Williamson Park on Saturday brought together many from throughout the area to express that the time is now for change in terms of communities and how police departments police them.
Protests nationally were sparked by the murder of George Floyd and subsequent arrest of now fired officer,Derek Chauvin sparking demonstrations throughout the country focusing on race, inequality, and calls for change in policing policies.
Chavuin was charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter last month by prosecutors in Hennepin County, Minnesota, as well as three additional officers who responded to the incident.
The March was not about “hating the police”, one protester said, but about how we can work together better now, and in the future, so we never have a George Floyd situation here in Morrisville.
Organizers for the event did not point to any specific incident involving the Morrisville Police Department. In fact they were more than thankful to the department and its Chief of Police, George McClay, for helping bring the peaceful protest to fruition.
The overall message taken from the march’s participants was and is: now is a time for change overall in how departments treat and interact with blacks (and other minority groups) in communities.
We need to keep moving our message forward, a spokesperson for the Bucks County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) said while the names of victims murdered by police throughout the country were read off.
Our message is clear, the NAACP Spokesperson said, we want system racism to end once and for all he said.
We have to continue doing this work at the local level, said Morris Derry of the non-profit No More Pain, Inc.
Attending local council meetings, involving ourselves with government and police departments are the way sustained change can happen, he said.
Derry was instrumental in helping to organize the Bristol Black Lives Matter protest last month.
Derry is also one of the organizers for an event in August celebrating African American history, heritage and culture to take place in Langhorne,
Simultaneously at the Robert Morris Plaza locals gathered to insure the safety of the borough’s namesake as unverified threats circulated throughout social media late last week.
The unverified threats led to local outrage and concern for the safety of the statute.
Gafgen’s son “Jim” stood by with about two-dozen people or so as the protest took place in the park.
Alongside Gafgen was former Republican congressional candidate Andy Meehan who recently lost his bid to unseat Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick.
Both men said said they were there just in case something happened to the Morris memorial.
“I’m just here to protect pop’s work”, Gafgen said, as he recounted the history of his father being commissioned to create the bronze sculpture.
Both men acknowledged organizers for the BLM Protest in the park had assured the public the Morris Plaza Memorial was not a target of the protest but still they said reporting from last week led to questions they had about what was taking place at the plaza when public works employees temporarily boarded the the memorial up.
“Why did the borough feel it needed to board up the memorial to begin with?” Gafgen asked.
Meehan wondered aloud if borough residents were being told the full story about the boards put up and taken down within two hours last week.
“Looked real suspicious to me, don’t you think?” he asked.
Morrisville Borough Manager Scott Mitchell confirmed last week the boroughs’s public works department was in fact at the plaza doing some work, but declined on the specifics of the work performed.
Meanwhile both groups at each location profusely thanked the police departments on hand for event.
The heavy police presence did include two vehicles at the plaza inside of police tape watching over the Morris memorial.
Interestingly enough, a counter-protest in the park by a Christian based group occurred too, attempting to yell down the protest in the park spewing anti-gay, for example, profanities while speakers were on stage about 100 yards away.
When asked why it was important for the group to counter-protest the Black Lives Matter rally, a male spokesperson accused this reporter of trying to pick him up and “fornicate me.”
The same question was asked again of the the man leading the group, with three young girls standing behind him, and a litany of anti-LGBTQ+ slurs were once again repeated louder.
For the second time in three months, an imagined threat from Trenton, N.J never materialized, which is a good thing for all, one protester said and adding you can’t believe all the hate you read on social media.
There have been a number of peaceful protests throughout Bucks County since Floyd was killed in May. There have been no incidents of serious violence, looting or rioting at any of the events, law enforcement from throughput the county has noted or publicized.
Note: We are aware of the broken website link for the faith-based group cited in this story.