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‘We Matter’ protest shows strong message

The “We Matter” movement presented a powerful message of peace in Warren on Monday evening.

And we are happy to commend the more than 1,000 participants in the demonstration as they strongly presented their pleas for justice and fairness as part of a nationwide response to the senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.

Unlike the events in large cities across America, there was no rioting, looting, broken windows and burning buildings or cars. Yet the passion was high and the message of the marchers was allowed to reach more clearly the community than it would have if violence would have overshadowed their statement.

Ty Powell, the young black woman who organized the rally, may have said it best.

“It all starts in the small towns. When we band together in the small towns, then everyone can see it, us as one, leading by example.”

In large cities, many businesses and institutions have been devastated by those who chose violence to make a statement that only damaged their communities. Each of the businesses looted or burned employed people from that city or community. Their jobs were snuffed out for the foreseeable future, or maybe forever. The hurt and pain caused by that type of demonstration does little to pave the way for change of attitudes.

Dr. Martin Luther King accomplished so much without using threats or fear or violence.

Yes, we have to hold police officers accountable for their actions. As with every profession, there are some bad apples in police forces. We have to expect the leaders in the various departments to deal swiftly and strongly when officers are out of line. But we cannot let the few bad apples taint the overwhelming majority of police officers who serve us and protect us honorably every day.

Law enforcement needs to emphasize treating the public, even the criminal public, with respect for their humanity if not their actions. And all training methods must be reviewed and revised if they are found to be putting a restrained person’s life at risk. A knee on the neck cannot be a proper restraint technique.

And, of course, all of us should consider our own actions when dealing with law enforcement. We have all heard the so-called golden rule: Behave toward others as you would have them behave toward you; also, the converse, do not do to others what you would not like done to yourself. This should be in the mind of the arresting officer and in the mind of the arrestee.

Local officers and officials were courteous and also respectful during the Monday evening demonstration. We thank them as well. They displayed the proper respect and gave the group its rights to assemble and express themselves.

Safety Service Director Eddie Colbert explained the government’s appropriate approach:

“We wanted to make sure the organizers got their message across,” Colbert said. “We did not want their message to get lost because of the actions of a few who resorted to violence, as happened in other communities.”

The peaceful nature of the march can be viewed as a giant step toward bringing about change in Warren and Trumbull County — change that will make this community safer for all citizens.

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