EAST PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Antwon Rose is being remembered this Juneteenth, two years to the day he was shot and killed by a police officer, with a number of events in East Pittsburgh.
Protesters were in the streets most of the day, as they called for change during a sit-in, march, speeches and a balloon release.
“We need to still continue to fight,” Khalil Darden, of the of event organizers, said. “Things are moving towards change, but continue to fight and don’t let up, because without that pressure, it won’t change.”
Juneteenth Direct Action, organized by the Allegheny County Black Activist/Organizer Collective, was a sit-in that started at noon to call for black freedom and empowerment.
The protesters blocked the intersection of Lincoln Highway and Center Street.
The day started at 10 a.m. as the protesters gathered near the site of the former East Pittsburgh police station and marched to the spot where Rose lost his life. A stage was set up there for a rally.
Marchers stopped at the spot where Antwon Rose II was shot and killed by former East Pittsburgh police Officer Michael Rosfeld. Today marks two years since Rose was killed. #JUNETEENTH2020 @KDKA pic.twitter.com/fMHMezKgUG
— Amy Wadas (@AmyWadas) June 19, 2020
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto joined in the march.
“A once in a lifetime opportunity, we need to do this right, and we need to do it together,” he said. “There’s momentum you haven’t had since the 1960s. If we really want to see change, we have to look at this and see the entire idea of reform and put together a whole package.”
State Rep. Ed Gainey also spoke at a rally as protesters held signs. Rep. Conor Lamb, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald were among the other politicians there.
“Everybody is protesting abuse of use of force, that’s why it’s important Pennsylvania gets it right. We need to get it right, right now to save lives,” Rep. Gainey said.
Rose’s mother, Michelle Kenney, was also in the crowd.
“Although Antwon is not here, I am going to fight for him until the day that I die,” she said.
The morning events also included a balloon release in Rose’s memory and other guest speakers and performing artists.