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Johnstown Vigil in honor of Antwon Rose II and for those demanding justice

Put People Frist! PA’s Johnstown Healthcare Rights Committee and the Unity Coalition of the Southern Alleghenies, both Johnstown based, organized a vigil in Johnstown’s Central Park on March 27, 2019 to stand in unity with the E. Pittsburgh family of Antwon Rose II and the many hundreds of high school and college students and community members taking to the streets in outrage.

On June 19, 2018 Seventeen year old Antwon Rose II, who is black, was unarmed when he was shot and killed by a white East Pittsburgh policeman Michael Rosfeld. Officer Rosfeld was subsequently arrested and charged with homicide by Allegheny County prosecutors for shooting and killing Antwon Rose as Rose fled the scene during a traffic stop. On March 22 Rosfeld was acquitted on all counts in what many see as another act of police violence given a stamp of approval by the US court system.

The photo above (4 attendees not in pic) includes members of both sponsoring organizations as well at the Johnstown Branch NAACP and others from the Johnstown area.

The vigil included an opening introduction by Hope Marie Koss of PPF! PA and a repeated recital of Antwon’s name and age as well as singing of the song; Which Side Are You On My People? – Which Side Are You On?

The twenty-plus vigil participants stood in a circle in the center of the park and each participated in expressing their thoughts, deep concerns and insights about the Police killing of Antwon Rose II, the and the historically predictable verdict of “Not Guilty” for police shooting unarmed black men.   

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Alanah McLaughlin of PPF! PA reads a very touching poem about growing up black in America during the vigil which was written by Antwon Rose II in 2016, two years before he was killed by the E. Pittsburgh police last year. The poem read in part: “I see mothers bury their sons / I want my mom to never see that pain”.

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Pictured above, Rev. Calvin Hart and Laycee Norton of PPF! PA stand behind a poster with pictures of 17 yr. old Antwon Rose II (center),  twelve year old Timir Rice (left) and Elip Cheatham – then 27 years old (right – of Johnstown). Each was shot and killed by police, just three of many in the past five years alone.

Rev. Calvin later spoke offering in part; “this occasion has affected all of us in a psychological way and that is why we are here. This is a sad occasion because our hearts are aching and need ministry of comfort…”

Christine Dahlin of ‘Unity Coalition of the Southern Alleghenies’ voiced her concerns about the need for “so much radical change in this country to fix it… I’m looking to the next election and going, OK we need some radical candidates because slow change isn’t going to work…we need reparations…”

Mustapha Triplin of PPF! PA was interviewed by WJAC-TV reporters.

…”just the act of shooting someone who is posing no threat – it’s barbaric!, its wrong!, it’s not something that should be tolerated in any way. Any judicial system that thinks that’s right is one that is not functioning correctly”.

Hope Marie Koss PPF! PA Johnstown HRC co-coordinator interviewed by WJAC-TV

…”in the last decade there are so many who have been killed by police violence and we need to stand against it and bring it to an end”.

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