About 250 people attended a rally Sunday, May 2, at the Otsego County Courthouse, to support the community’s Asian American and Pacific Island residents.
The “Otsego Rally for Solidarity with Asian Americans” was organized and run by a group of Cooperstown Central School freshmen, including 15-year-old Cate Bohler, who said she wanted to speak up to support her friends or anyone who is being harassed.
“As a young Asian-American girl, hearing people call COVID the China virus is hurtful,” Bohler said, reading from her prepared statement about why she wanted to stage the rally. “It is more than hurtful. It is harmful. It perpetuates anti-American sentiments and racism.”
Speakers included the students, as well as local officials, including Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, Cooperstown Police Chief Frank Cavalieri, Otsego Town Supervisor Meg Kiernan and Otsego County Rep. Danny Lapin, D-Oneonta, who said he thinks he is the county’s only elected official of Asian descent. Lapin’s mom is Japanese.
“The deep-seated nature of systemic racism requires us to make continuous choices and take continuous actions to advance anti-racist ideas in the public space,” Lapin said.
RALLY – 2 p.m. Get together in solidarity to support and celebrate Asian American’s against racism and hate. Masks & social distancing required. Organized by the Tri-County Women’s Coalition. Held at Otsego County Courthouse, 193 Main St., Cooperstown. Visit Tri-County Women’s Coalition Facebook Group for info.
In response to the rising number of hate crimes directed at Asian Americans since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, local teens are planing a Solidarity Rally for Sunday, May 2, according to a media release.
Otsego Solidarity Rally for Asian Americans will be held at 2 p.m. in front of the Otsego County Courthouse at 197 Main Street.
May is Asian American and Pacific Island Heritage month, according to the release.
Students involved in organizing the rally have created a window display at 149 Main Street, Cooperstown, to highlight the history and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The exhibit will be on view throughout the month of May.
Cate Bohler, one of the 15-year-olds, said in the release, “I want to organize this rally to see how people come together to fight against racial injustice. My biggest goal is to help people become aware, educate them about things they might not know about. The rally is a starting point for action.”
Speakers will include Otsego County Board of Supervisors Danny Lapin and Meg Kiernan and Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh.
Amy Smithling of Oneonta, above, addresses crowd members gathered at the former Christopher’s Restaurant site on Southside as they prepare for a parade earlier this afternoon in support of the Oneonta Police Department. “This is about the OPD and the support they deserve,” said Smithling. “This is not about us versus them. This is not a Trump Rally. This is simply a show of force to support the OPD!” Inset, Genesis Bushnell, Laurens, and Shannon Speenburg, Unadilla, wave the “Thin Blue Line” flag in support support as they fall in line with numerous trucks and cars, including firetrucks and cement mixers, joined led the parade with flashing lights and sounding horns on their path through the city. The issue came to the fore when Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner removed the “Thin Blue Line” flag from the pole in front of the Oneonta Public Safety Building a few days ago. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
At what its organizers called “The Patriots Rally” this afternoon in Oneonta’s Muller Plaza to combat “white supremacists and racism,” co-organizer Diandra Sangetti-Daniels, above, calls for the continued defense against racism in all forms. Sixty-five people stopped to listen to several speakers, including co-organizer Johnny Brown, inset photo, as well as Anthony Baron, Zach King and Anthony Eardley, who recited Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, “America’s Chief Moral Dilemma.” Sangetti-Daniels is also organizing a Community Speak-Out, where people can come and tell their experiences to community leaders. While the date has yet to be set, she is excited for the meeting; “Many people come to these rallies and tell their stories, but feel the people who need to hear them are elsewhere. At this meeting, the people who implement chance will be there.” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
COOPERSTOWN – Ten years after he was chased by an armed classmate from Cooperstown Park on a sunny Good Friday and shot, Wesley Lippitt recounted the events this afternoon on the lawn of the Otsego County Courthouse:
“Racism is here,” he testified to an almost completely white crowd that organizers estimated at about 800 people, gathered to rally for justice after George Floyd’s death on being taking into police custody May 25 in Minneapolis. “It’s a thing. It is time for all of us to open our eyes.”
Lippitt, then 16, was wounded when Anthony Pacherille, 15, later imprisoned for eight years, cornered him in the police station in the basement of Village Hall and fired.
Perhaps as many as 500 people rallied peacefully in Oneonta’s Muller Plaza this afternoon to hear Rev. LaDana Clark, a former police officer, above, say, “Most of our police are trying to do the right thing, but it’s the bad apples have to be checked and removed! There can be no peace as long as an officer can place his knee on the neck of a black man and take his life in front of our eyes!” As is happening nationwide, SUNY Oneonta student Sadie Starr Lincoln, Oneonta, inset left, organized this afternoon’s protest calling for justice and an end to racism following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Other speakers included SUNY students Johnson Brown and Kimberly Miller; Rev. Craig Schwalenberg, pastor, Unitarian Universalist Society and Shannon McHugh, a member of the city’s Community Relations & Human Rights Commission. Attendees were urged to vote, to speak out when they see incidents of racism and to join the NAACP, Oneonta chapter; Rev. Cynthia Walton-Leavitt of the Red Door Church was on site with NAACP membership applications. The crowd filled Muller Plaza and spread across the street. Since social distancing was difficult, organizers urged attendees to be tested for COVID-19 following the gathering. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Over 100 people gathered in Muller Plaza this evening to rally in solidarity in response to the violence in Charlottesville, VA. and to denounce white supremacy. The gathering was organized by Craig Schwalenburg of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta. After an invocation by Schwalenburg, the mic was available for anyone to use to share their thoughts and experiences. Above, Christina Hunt Wood, above, Delhi, tells the crowd of her recent experiences at the Delaware County Fair when her protest group approached the Fair Board about banning the sale of Confederate flags, they were barred from the fairgrounds. The crowd closed the evening by singing “This Little Light of Mine.” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
WRITERS CAMP – 1:30-3:30 p.m. Join Jen and the HML Writers Group for a NaNoWriMo style weekly workshop. Jen will present prompts and other activities to get you writing. Registration required. Huntington Memorial Library, 62 Chestnut St., Oneonta. hmloneonta.org/calendar/