Dozens protest racism, police violence

Demonstrators on Main Street in Ludlow on Monday evening. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Carrying signs that read “Black lives matter,” “No justice, no peace” and “I can’t breathe” among others, more than 40 demonstrators assembled in front of the Fletcher Memorial Library in Ludlow on a misty Monday evening to protest racism and police violence.

Organized by Sara Stowell and Susan Brace, the gathering got under way at 5:30 p.m. and within minutes groups of demonstrators descended on the library.

Demonstrators hold up a black lives matter sign.

After the initial dozen set up on the south side of Main Street, younger people arrived and took up places at the park on the opposite side of the street.

Stowell told The Telegraph that people felt particularly strongly about the issue of oppression of black people, which she said isn’t strictly an urban problem. Small town residents, she said, are paying attention and are horrified and appalled.

“I am so happy to see so many young people here,” said Stowell.

A single demonstrator in Chester holds up a sign at Maple and Main.

Many motorists passing the demonstration honked horns and waived while — at the end of the block — a Ludlow Police officer watched from his cruiser.

Later, at the intersection of Main and Maple in Chester a lone man stood with a sign saying “RIP George Floyd.”

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  1. Sara Stowell says:

    Arlene, thanks for your question. We can usually tell if the honk is in favor of what we are doing or not because it often comes accompanied by a thumbs up, or a smile. We also sometimes have cars go by with their own signs. Conversely, people who don’t support us sometimes flip us the bird or yell something out of their window that is less kind, often offensive, sometimes racist. Other people go by without making eye contact and some make eye contact but don’t indicate their opinions. We’d love to have you join us sometime!

  2. Cynthia Prairie says:

    The demonstration will be held from 1 to 4 on the Green in Chester. It is being organized by several high school students. They ask everyone to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.

  3. Karen Shoot says:

    Will there be a protest in Chester this Saturday, June 6th?

  4. Arlene Mutschler says:

    Just a question, not a judgment. Why does everyone ‘assume’ that cars that HONK at protesters are in support? Just asking.. I am in support of peaceful demonstrations.

  5. Catherine Cadieux says:

    Thank you all for standing in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and honoring George Floyd, the most recent victim of murder by a public servant. This, along with videos of police officers and sheriffs laying down their batons, taking a knee, and walking with protesters with a shared purpose: healthy and vibrant diverse communities. This gives me hope for lasting change. Stay the course. Stay safe. And vote for change in November.

  6. Miriam Hyman says:

    I’m a “second home owner” residing in Chester
    since March and commend what you have accomplished with organizing
    the protests. I plan to participate in Springfield on Friday. If I can be of assistance in any other way,
    please let me know ( 917 375 5179).

  7. Susan Brace says:

    Actually, the number of demonstrators exceeded 60 by 6:00 p.m. as people kept coming. We spent 9 minutes on our knees in memory of the time it took for George Floyd to die of murder by the police officer who was killing him with a knee to Mr. Floyd’s neck.

    We plan to hold another protest in downtown Springfield on Friday, June 5 starting at 5:30 p.m. We ask that participants bring signs, wear face masks, and respect safe physical distance from each other. Meet at the bank/cinema parking lot.