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Hundreds gather in Court Square for Peace Rally Pt. II

The courthouse bells and bells from churches in downtown Harrisonburg rang for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
The courthouse bells and bells from churches in downtown Harrisonburg rang for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 5, 2020 at 10:38 PM EDT
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Hundreds gathered in Court Square Friday night to listen and ask questions to local leaders and law enforcement following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.

The rally follows an event that happened in Court Square

, organized by Stand Maclin, of the Harriet Tubman Cultural Center of Harrisonburg.

At the beginning of the rally religious leaders spoke on how the community can heal and improve together.

For 8 minutes and 46 seconds, bells in downtown Harrisonburg from the Rockingham County Court House and local churches rand to symbolize the pain Floyd went through.

Harrisonburg Police Chief Eric English and Rockingham County Commonwealth's Attorney Marsha Garst were at the rally to speak to the community on how they understand the pain the community has felt over the last two weeks.

Garst said Floyd and his family were not the only victims but the community is too.

"There's a second victim impacted in the community which is what it means for the rest of the community," Garst said. "Black individuals won't trust law enforcement, that there will be a division between people of color and people of law enforcement."

Garst and Chief English both described what they're doing to unite the community and cut down on racial injustice and police brutality.

"I will tell you there is no place for hate in Harrisonburg," Garst said.

The community was able to ask questions to Garst and Chief English through two open mics placed around court square.

"I do know you care about us but I'm tired and I got questions," A protester said.

While some questions were asked not everyone had a chance to voice their concerns and some were left unanswered.

"We want to know what you guys are going to do to help us, do you guys really support us or are you just putting on a facade to make you guys seem good," Marcu Poulson, a protester, said. "You support our protest but do you morally feel how the rest of the world is feeling right now."

Chief English told the community he was open to answering more questions about policies with the department through email and Garst said she would stick around after the rally to continue answering more questions from the community.

Maclin said, for now, there is room open for a part three rally but it is up to a committee on what action will happen next.

Almost everyone in the rally was wearing face masks and the microphone was wiped down with a sanitized wiped after each speaker.

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