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Central New Yorkers protest against racism in wake of Charleston shooting

Ellen Abbott
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WRVO News
Central New Yorkers protest against racism in downtown Syracuse Tuesday, ending at the Jerry's Rescue monument, evoking the area's abolitionist roots.

Dozens of central New Yorkers demonstrated during a busy noon hour in Syracuse’s Clinton Square Tuesday, calling attention to racism in the wake of the Charleston, South Carolina shootings at a historic black church

During a hot, muggy midday, protesters made their way around the Farmer’s Market in Clinton Square to the Jerry Rescue monument, a symbol of Syracuse’s anti-slavery past, chanting against violence and racism.

Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO News
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WRVO News

Amelia Lefevre of the Syracuse Peace Council says that history can’t be forgotten.

"It’s time for Syracuse to stand up in this generation to say that black lives matter, this racist system must end now,” said Lefevre.

Among those standing up, was Ednita Wright of Syracuse, who says joining the march was personal.

“I’m here because Charleston, South Carolina is my family's home. And if my grandmother was alive, she would have been in that church. And it’s time for us to talk about this really,” said Wright.

For Syracuse University student Koy Adams, the shootings highlight a system that he believes keeps minorities down, even when they play by the rules.

Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO News
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WRVO News

“We are never ever given the respect we deserve, even when we play by the system, we are destroyed by it. And there is something fundamentally wrong with that,” said Adams.

Talina Jones, of Syracuse, says it’s time for people to seriously look within and admit the racism they see and are taught. She says the answer to eliminating this societal ill isn’t easy, but involves introspection.

As for the future?

"I kind of hate that question. Because actually, I’d much rather have people to remain present. They are so often asked to move forward, that the attack in Charleston will become yesterday’s news,” said Jones.

There have also been several church services in central New York to offer prayers for the victims since the shooting, including an interfaith service at the Hopps Memorial CME Church last night in Syracuse.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.