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Geneva NAACP rally draws hundreds

Protesters fill Geneva's Bicentennial Park Wedneday.
Kelly Walker
Finger Lakes Public Radio

For the fourth day in a row, Genevans gathered peacefully in response to the killing of George Floyd and other black Americans at the hands of police.

Wednesday evening, the Geneva chapter of the NAACP organized a rally in Bicentennial Park on Exchange Street. The event drew hundreds hours after Minnesota prosecutors added a second degree murder charge against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and charged three more officers in the death of George Floyd.

"We are in this together, and we're fired up and we're ready to go," said Lucille Mallard, the President of the Geneva chapter of the NAACP. "What I heard on the TV today before I came down here, I was going to say this later, but I'll say it now. This is just the tip of the iceberg. It's not over until a conviction and somebody's in jail."

Mallard also acknowledged the young grassroots organizers who have held daily, peaceful marches throughout Geneva every day since Sunday.

"I want to give the young people, the young adults praise for what they have done. I want you to know that people in Albany have called me and told me Geneva has made them proud. So, Geneva, we're in this together. Stay safe and be blessed."

Geneva’s Police Chief Michael Passalaqua was also among the speakers Wednesday. I asked him why he believes the rallies and marches in Geneva have been free of violence that has happened elsewhere.

"Nothing to do with us. It's the people who are coming to peacefully protest. That's what we want, what we want to continue. Protesting is their right. They should be doing it, but beyond the protesting peaceful is what we want."

Following the rally downtown, marchers set off again to walk Geneva’s neighborhoods.

Kelly Walker started his public radio career at WBAA in West Lafayette, Indiana in 1985 and has spent some time in just about every role public broadcasting has to offer. He has spent substantive time in programming and development at KWMU in St. Louis, WFIU in Bloomington, Indiana, and Troy Public Radio in Alabama before his arrival in Geneva, New York. In addition, his work has been heard on many other public radio stations as well as NPR. Kelly also produces The Sundilla Radio Hour, which airs Sundays at 1 p.m. on Finger Lakes Public Radio and is distributed to public radio stations all over the country through PRX.
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