Black Lives Matter Protests Continue In Cleveland, Parma And Across Region
Black Lives Matter protests continued over the weekend, with gatherings and marches in Akron, Avon, Medina, Parma, Strongsville, and Cleveland.
In Parma, the crowd was primarily white, just like the Cleveland suburb itself. The city is about 91 percent white and 3 percent Black, according to Census.gov.
Protesters stop at the corner of Ridge Road and Ridgewood Drive, near Parma City Hall. [Lisa Ryan / ideastream]
But organizers said that’s exactly why a Black Lives Matter march is necessary, to help Black residents feel safe and to promote a more welcoming city.
“This city is beautiful and it needs to be more diverse,” one woman shouted to the crowd from her megaphone.
The crowd marched from Ridgewood Lake Park to the Parma Justice Center, stopping at a corner near Parma City Hall.
A larger and more diverse crowd formed later in the day for a Black Lives Matter protest focused on questioning the death of Desmond Franklin, a Black man killed by an off-duty Cleveland police officer in April. The County referred the incident to a Special Prosecutor.
Participants first gathered at the Second District police station, which was barricaded off with National Guard soldiers stationed nearby. Police watched the protest from the roofs of nearby buildings.
A barrier separates Cleveland's second district police station and protesters. [Lisa Ryan / ideastream]
The crowd chanted, “This is a peaceful protest,” along with the names of those killed by police officers in recent months, including Breonna Taylor in Louisville and George Floyd, whose death in Minneapolis recently sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the country.
The group sat down and had a moment of silence for the lives lost.
Pearl Road is shut down as protesters sit and listen to speakers. [Lisa Ryan / ideastream]
The crowd then marched from the police station to Pearl Road, where they also sat and listened quietly, despite not being able to hear the speakers from the back of the blocks-long gathering.
The police escorted the Parma and Cleveland marches, blocking off roads on the path.
During the Cleveland march, people handed out water and food along the way. One group gave out free face masks, citing racial health disparities during the coronavirus pandemic that causes a disproportionate amount of Black people to die from the virus.
At both protests, a large majority of the crowds wore face masks, which Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allan said is an important factor in preventing the spread of COVID-19.