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Small Town Police Protests Show Changing Landscape

Jun 5, 2020

Fremont Ohio solidarity protest June 3, 2020.
Credit Monica Alonso

Pictures of protests in big cities around the country have dominated newscasts and newspapers this week.  But Lynn Tramonte, director of the Ohio Immigrant Alliance says she has been struck by the number of protests in Ohio’s small towns and villages.  

From Bay Village to East Liverpool, Parkersburg to Ottawa Hills Tramonte sees a growing number of small town Ohioans willing to stand against police brutality, and standing up for Black Lives Matters.  She says she’s particularly encourgaged by the number of young people who are leading.

“In Wadsworth they’ve had several protests, all organized by younger people.  In Cleveland Heights our high school students organized a wonderful protest at City Hall.  And in Chagrin Falls a 15-year old took the reins to schedule a protest, ended up getting a lot of pushback from businesses and some threatening phone calls.  So he cancelled the even, but it ended up happening anyway.  So, I thought that was such a cool outcome for something that turned very negative with the backlash, into something very powerful because 150 people showed up, and he got to see his vision carried out.”

Tramonte says protests have taken many different forms, from marches, to symbolic kneeling or laying down, to a mass dance in Newark.  Some of the protestors have been harassed, and Tramonte says Ohio has a history of white supremacist and other racist groups.  But she says the small town protests in Ohio point out that things are changing.

“Whether it’s three people or three hundred [protesting], I just think it shows we’re changing public opinion, and public sentiment is changing.”

Tramonte’s post about small town protests is found on medium.com.

Bluffton, Ohio marchers, Jun1, 2020
Credit Jamie Nygaard