About 20 people holding "Black Lives Matter" signs gathered at the Allen Street Gates on Monday to mourn the death of Antwon Rose II, an unarmed, black teenager who was fatally shot by police last week near Pittsburgh. Local community groups Central PA Showing Up for Racial Justice and Standing at the Gates for Justice organized the State College demonstration.
Rose, 17, was shot three times by police Officer Michael Rosfeld last Tuesday in the suburb of East Pittsburgh after fleeing from a traffic stop. The car was reportedly stopped because it matched the description of a vehicle that was involved in an earlier shooting several miles away. The funeral for Rose was held Monday.
"It's important for people to know that this is an issue that affects everybody — even if it didn't happen in your town, this is something that undermines the justice system," Adriana Rizzo, a Penn State grad student and event co-organizer, said. "It's really hard to say that we're a country of justice and fairness when things like this keep happening."
Maria Cramer, who's also a member of Central PA SURJ and a Penn State grad student, said they want to show people of color in the community that they support them and "have their backs."
Stacy Garbrick, of Penns Valley, said white people need to stand up and speak out, too.
"I decided to participate today because I have black children in my life that I love, and when I see things like this, I see their faces and it just hurts me so deeply," Garbrick said.
One particularly vocal protester over the past week has been Penn State defensive back Lamont Wade. Wade, of Clairton, was at the frontlines of a protest in Pittsburgh on Saturday and has been outspoken on social media about the police shooting death of Rose.
"The worst thing that has happened to the people who are killing these innocent people, are paid leaves or getting fired. ... I feel like something needs to change. I feel like that's why I am out there, that's why I try to do what I can do, " Wade told CNN on Sunday.