A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

How a demonstration for justice is done right

Written June 2nd, 2020 by Hasso Hering

At City Hall near the end of Tuesday’s protest, people knelt for 9 minutes, as long as George Floyd was held down when he died in Minneapolis.

A big crowd came together in Albany Tuesday to demonstrate in favor of racial justice and showed the country — if it paid attention — how this kind of protest should be done.

The Albany crowd, mostly young and mostly but not entirely white, was motivated by the police killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, in Minneapolis on May 25. From around the country we’ve seen a wave of rioting and destruction prompted by the same event, but nothing like that happened in Albany.

Instead, there was chanting and the waving of signs deploring the treatment of minorities, especially blacks, at the hands of police and society in general. You can disagree with the underlying premise — that America is a fundamentally racist place — but if you were there you would not doubt the sincerity with which the young demonstrators wished for a better world.

I tried but failed to get a decent count of the people lining Ellsworth Street from about Second Avenue to south of Sixth.  But I estimated up to 200 on each side for the four blocks. Add a few more on the other blocks, and you get to between 1,800 and 2,000.

I learned on Facebook that the demonstration would take place, without getting details. Whoever put it together organized it well. I saw caches of bottled water, and later young people were going through the crowd offering people a drink.

Law enforcement was all over the place, just in case. Some were in the crowd, others stationed themselves a block or two away. But as far as I could tell nothing untoward happened. I saw Albany officers shaking hands with demonstrators, posing for photos with some of them and their signs, and gently regulating people and traffic on this busy leg of Highway 20, trying to keep anyone from being run over.

Here’s a sample of what else I saw.

Former Councilman Ray Kopczynski, with flag, and Councilman Alex Johnson II joined the demonstration.

From Ellsworth, part of the crowd moved to the City Hall plaza for speeches and then, the 9-minute kneel.







38 responses to “How a demonstration for justice is done right”

  1. Laurie says:

    Reading one short to average length article (local news article on today’s March for GeorgeFloyd), I’ve been FORCED to see the ad to sign a birthday card for president Trump. I feel this is inappropriate and against my personal beliefs. I do NOT want to see this again.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Forced? Who forced you? Google puts ads on this site based on what some algorithm selects as a potential target for that ad, and not everyone sees the same ads. Why have ads at all? Because readers and viewers look at hh-today without paying anything, and what little revenue the ads provide offsets a small part of the expense of maintaining the site and providing the content. If you don’t want to see ads, my advice is don’t look at them.

      • Craig says:

        The ad algorithm is really messed up. I don’t wear a lot of lingerie.


        • William Ayers says:

          Neither do I. The question is does lingerie offend you? Do you feel it is inappropriate? Is lingerie against your personal beliefs and do you never want to see it again? After some serious soul searching I would have to say that the answer for me, is no.

        • Brad says:

          I get a really gross ads for ear wax removal on this site a lot. The best way to block ads off a site is to use the Adblock extention in Chrome. I use that for most sites, but I unblock Hasso’s site because I love the content and visit it often. But man, I don’t know how many more globs of ear wax I can handle.

    • John Allen says:

      Laurie – Freedom OF speech, not freedom FROM speech.

    • Al Nyman says:

      Forced! Personal beliefs! I’ve been forced to watch looters destroy billions in other people’s property for 7 days as our liberal governors do nothing and that offends my personal beliefs. Furthermore your tyrannical liberal governors love to crack down on hair stylists in Salem but refuse to stop looting! I don’t know what kind of dream world you live in but no ad can possibly offend me as Hasso has a right to earn money for his work. If I don’t want to look at the ad I don’t have to read his blog. Happy birthday President Trump.

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      I was thinking the same thing this morning while watching CNN.

      I’m being FORCED to watch Trump almost all morning. I DO NOT want to see this again.

      So I switched the channel to MSNBC. Again, I’m FORCED to watch Trump almost non-stop.

      So I switched the channel to the Cartoon Network.

      Problem solved.

    • HowlingCicada says:

      I’m not the least bit offended by Trump ads, and I detest him as much as you do.

  2. Andrea S says:

    Beautiful. Black lives matter.

  3. thomas cordier says:

    I was there for 2 hrs done well. Police on bikes monitored it well. Hope things hold on thru the night

  4. John Klock says:

    This was the biggest event in Albany history and it made me proud.

    • Bill says:

      You might be unaware. The KKK had its largest meeting in Albany in the early 1900’s. Larger than George Floyd, unfortunately.

    • Bill says:

      You might be unaware. The KKK had its largest meeting in Albany in the early 1900’s. Larger than George Floyd, unfortunately. In Oregon.

  5. Kathy Biggio says:

    Proud of Albany to show an example of how to do a protest RIGHT!

  6. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    I’m reminded of a Hillary Clinton quote whenever politicians (and ex-pols) show up at events like this : “Never waste a good crisis.”

    Is their act based upon righteous indignation or political opportunism?

    Other cop caused deaths like this one have happened in the past across the country. No organized protests. No riots. Not a peep from any politician.

    But here they are for this event. Why now and not then?

    Perhaps Hasso could follow-up and help his readers understand what motivates the local politicians.

  7. Ray Kopczynski says:

    The event was fantastic! (And long overdue IMO.) Kudos to the local PD for very positively engaging with folks. Huge number of young people there all the way up to many of us age 60-70+ folks, and everywhere in between. Bravo to the young folks who started it (See the DH article). And, notwithstanding some of the serious angst & paranoia by folks who didn’t attend (and still don’t get it), there was no trouble during the event nor afterwards. Exactly as I was telling friends would happen…

    • Dick Olsen says:

      Amen Ray! Lots of honking and waves of approval from cars and trucks driving by too.

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        Dick: Will the city council be taking the following pledge to defund the police given the anti-Black terror that exists in every police department?

        1. Vote no on all increases to police budgets
        2. Vote yes to decrease police spending and budgets
        3. Vote yes to increase spending on Health care, education and community programs that keep us safe.

        John Legend, Common, the Weeknd, Lizzo, Jane Fonda, and others have signed the pledge. Shouldn’t you?


        • Dick Olsen says:

          Gordon, Thanks for pointing out this sight. In the past, several people involved in legal
          and justice work have opined to me that we spend too much on law enforcement.

  8. CHEZZ says:

    There is a lot to say, and nothing to say. My own 1967 August was in my home in South Central L.A; curfews, National Guard troops lined up in the back of huge trucks lumbered up and down my neighborhood street. Helicoptors above, law enforcement below. There was the acrid smell of smoke overhanging the scene, with a brilliant red sun, filtering the smoke. It was terrifying. Yet, later moving to Orange County, CA, I was threatened by my new neighbors, raising their fists in my face because my friends of color visited me in my home. I hope and pray that justice is served, and that this particular murder creates daily conversations with our civic leaders, our friends, our neighbors regarding COLOR; so overlooked for SO long.

  9. Scott Bruslind says:

    Death in public custody always has explosive potential. Like the fire triangle- video is the spark that ignites.
    During an interview with the Linn County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, I made the connection between Public Health and Public Safety as being on a continuum- mental health issues, difficult and costly to address, end badly in custody. Working together/cross training, law enforcement gets a heads-up of emerging behavioral issues, front line mental health workers get needed back-up/tactics for neutralizing potential assaults, and both can share best practices to thread the needle between individual rights and common good.

  10. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    You say the purpose of the protest was to “demonstrate in favor of racial justice.”

    In the context of police behavior, I assume “racial justice” means the systematic fair treatment of everyone by the APD. If this is the case, then Albany citizens need to more than protest and make speeches.

    Albany citizens need to make an effort at serious reform to change the current police culture.

    A good place to start is to create an independent, elected, non-paid, civilian oversight board to monitor police behavior and ensure accountability. Independent means just that – no interference from politicians or police administrators.

    Currently, Albany only has a Board of Public Safety which is appointed by, and reports to, the city council.

    Totally ineffective when it comes to independent oversight of local police behavior.

    Hopefully Albany citizens recognize this deficiency and make the changes needed to get closer to the ideal of “racial justice.”

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Never heard of this board here. Must be a different Albany

    • Anon A. Mouse says:

      You wrote; “If this is the case, then Albany citizens need to more than protest and make speeches.” I say that’s a pretty big “If” and far from settled science. There’s a ton of election year misinformation and propaganda being promulgated for political purpose. One bad cop doesn’t make the case for condemnation of the entire system. Hopefully we can allow due process to work. At this point many of us do not feel it’s safe to speak our minds and that’s unfortunate for our country.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        That so-called “silent majority” is being awakened methinks – and for good reason. Every day that goes by with incidents like recently happened, you’ll see more & more “plain folks” getting involved and participating in events like we just had. BRAVO!

  11. Richard Vannice says:

    Eons in the past I had an English teacher who required us to read the Readers Digest cover to cover and then she would assign an article to read and then report on.
    The only thing I remember from all those articles was a “quote able quote”
    Marguerite Gardner, the Countess of Blessington, 1789-1849 wrote, “PREJUDICES ARE THE CHAINS OF IGNORENCE THAT KEEP MEN APART.”
    If I learned nothing else in my life that will be with me forever, It is the things, places, people, that I know the least about that I fear the most.
    How many of us take the time to speak to and know the neighbor down the street or even across the street? We’re too busy? If we all would take the time to at least speak to people and smile, maybe, just maybe these problems would eventually be solved.

  12. Brad says:

    “…Albany officers shaking hands with demonstrators…” During a pandemic?

    • Hasso Hering says:

      What pandemic? People were not just shaking hands but hugging all over the place, and never mind social distancing. But many of the people in the crowd were wearing masks.

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        A thousand protesters within 6 feed of each other shaking hands and hugging? With cops watching and some mingling with the crowd? No problemo.

        Just don’t be the 26th person to attend a church service. Violation of that order will probably get you arrested.

      • HowlingCicada says:

        My predictions:
        1 – COVID case numbers will start increasing in a few weeks.
        2 – Reds will blame the protests.
        3 – Blues will blame a too-hasty lockdown retreat.

  13. CHEZZ says:

    Hasso, it was 1965 – the Watts riots. Just another person of color and LAPD incident.

  14. James Engel says:

    My take… when you need “police action” for say a theft or burglary….Try calling a protester for help!

  15. Bill Looney says:

    White people will be the minority race before this mid-century. Black, Hispanic, and Asian voters together, will have voting power in the United States.
    Murders by White cops and residents against the above races must stop by passing harsher punishing laws. Voting rights for current minorities must improve now. Vote by mail in a pandemic, absentee ballots sent before the voting deadline, and a stop of 3- hour waiting lines in major cities and towns, especially in the South must end, regarding voting.
    The racist President, Republican Congress , and local politicians must be swept out of office to stop an eventual race Civil War, while beyond that, an American minority White country that will suffer greatly by let’s say 2040, if Whites don’t act as change makers, while obeying the teachings of Jesus Christ and other peaceful doctrines.
    To you racists out there, I hope and pray God is Black when it comes time for you to be judged after your Earthly Death.
    Think about it.


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