A Baker City woman encourages people to attend a peaceful protest this evening at Geiser-Pollman Park and express their support for curbing racial inequality in America.
Meghan Chancey said her goal is to encourage “healthy discussions rather than negative comments and violence.”
The protest is slated to start at 5 p.m. at the northeast corner of the park, near Campbell and Grove streets. Chancey recommends people avoid parking on Campbell Street or on Grove Street between Campbell and Madison to avoid inconveniencing residents.
Chancey, who grew up in Oklahoma City and moved to Baker City in August 2019, said the nationwide movement that has gained momentum since the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis has galvanized her to take action.
“I’ve been a quiet individual most of my life, but I realize that’s not helpful when you’re trying to seek change, especially for racial inequality,” Chancey said Monday. “Things do need to change, and we need to keep the momentum going.”
Chancey said she supports the proposals outlined in the “8 Can’t Wait,” campaign, which calls for police departments to make eight policy changes, including banning chokeholds and strangleholds, banning shooting at moving vehicles and requiring comprehensive reporting on use of force incidents.
(A complete list is available at 8cantwait.org.)
Although some people have advocated for reducing budgets for police or in some cases eliminating departments altogether, Chancey said she believes each department should be assessed separately.
Chancey said she has spoken with Baker City Police Ray Duman and with Baker County Sheriff Travis Ash about the proposed protest.
She said both “seemed supportive” and were very helpful in answering her questions.
Chancey said she didn’t know whether she needed a permit to use the city-owned park.
Duman, who said he spoke with Chancey on Monday morning, said she does not need a permit because the park is public property.
Duman said he has no reason to expect the protest will lead to any problems.
He said Baker City Police are aware of the planned event.
Chancey said the event does not have an agenda, although a woman who attended a recent protest in Portland might speak about her experiences shortly before 5 p.m.
“I have no idea how many people are going to be there,” she said.