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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Black Lives Matter hosted a rally to defund the Cleveland Police Department this Independence Day.
The “(expletive) yo 4th of July #defundCLEPD rally” took place in Luke Easter Park.
The rally is part of a national call to action. The organization has encouraged supporters across America to “Black Out July 4th” by wearing black in solidarity with the movement.
“We are constantly reminded that Black lives don’t matter in America, that the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness is only afforded to those that don’t look like us. We are forever binded in the struggle for true black liberation because of racist institutions created to oppress people of color,” Black Lives Matter wrote on social media. “This 4th of July we honor the memory of our founding father Frederick Douglass, who taught us to question the laws of American Independence.”
The rally also aims to reallocate funds currently distributed to authorities and instead use them in the community.
Organizers have created an email template for followers to use to “take action.” They are encouraging supporters to contact their local officials and representatives, encouraging them to defund the police.
The Cleveland Bagel Company, a locally owned business, recently faced backlash after showing their support for the rally by reposting a flyer about the event on their Facebook page.
The company’s Facebook page has been flooded with comments, many of them negative. They’ve also received threatening phone calls, and they are getting negative reviews on websites like Yelp.
They have also received pushback from police supporters, police officers and their families.
Members of the pro law enforcement group “Ohio Going Blue,” were among those criticizing the company’s position. The group released the following statement on their Facebook page:
We are always showing support for pro law enforcement businesses, we unfortunately also have to bring awareness to this anti law enforcement company, Cleveland Bagel Co. We know a lot of people in Cleveland follow us. While we do stand against those few bad police officers in Minneapolis, there are far more good officers out there than not. We will ALWAYS stand up against those few bad officers until they’re weeded out of our profession, but this is not the way to do it. The fact that this company posted this is disgusting and I will NO LONGER be a customer there.
Local activists have been protesting police violence for several weeks now. Demonstrations began in Northeast Ohio after George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day.