PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — For several hours, Point State Park served as a place to build another bridge in the city of bridges. This one to cross the gap of misunderstanding.
“Making it so everybody can feel like they can be heard loved and supported,” organizer Tanisha Long said.
Hundreds of people sat and listened to numerous speakers.
Activists called for change, a child read a poem about dealing with racism and others shared stories for the first time to a captive audience.
”I think the important thing is to just listen and listen to what the black community needs from us right now because they are clearly hurting,” Darby Vojtko said at the protest.
Long said a group of activists wanted to try a different form of protest. She says marching helps but not everyone can physically do it.
This provided a chance for people to engage in conversations otherwise not had.
“We’ve felt for so long that nobody cares. Show you care,” Long told KDKA.
“People are in the cancel culture, and they’re afraid of things not working out for them, but you need to stand up for what’s right,” Olivia Fennick said as she handed out water.
Park rangers and police were at the edge of the pavement watching over the protest to keep the peace.
Long was hoping officers and rangers would have joined and listened to the discussion.
“Maybe they fear it would just escalate the situation. I don’t know, but it would have been nice if they were hearing some of these things as well,” Long said.
“That’s one of the things we have to work on is the communication between the police and the community,” Gregory Olverson said as he listened to the speakers.
According to Long, helping to make change doesn’t have to be a gathering of hundreds. It can be as minimal as having a conversation with a person of color to learn about helping and what they are going through.
“Ask have I ever hurt you? Is there something I am doing wrong? How can I help? What are my behaviors I can change?” Long suggested.