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Saturday, June 6, 2020, downtown Atoka was the center of action.
A peaceful protest, heralded by Stacey Washington, Andrea Pernell, Tosha Crawford, and Audrey Pernell, walked East Court Street from the underpass, to the courthouse and around the block to go back.
The large gathering held signs of equality, chanting, “more justice, more stability,” and “no justice, no peace.”
Among the crowd was Vice-Mayor Diane McGee and Councilmember Erica Pogue.
“It made me feel proud. I was so excited that we could come together and do this in support of what is occurring around our country… We have the ability to change the world, but silence is not the answer,” Pogue commented about the march. “Another thing, I’m proud of our officers that were there.”
Along the route were officers from the City of Atoka, Towns of Stringtown, Tushka, and Caney, Atoka County Sheriff’s Office Deputies, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Officers handed out water and blocked off the streets for the protestors to pass safely.
“We love it here, this is our home,” Pogue re-walked the route after protestors had left to ensure there was no trash left behind. “This is who we are, we take care of what’s ours.”
Sheriff Tony Head stated, “It went well… We had no issues, and the guys were able to visit with both sides.”
Standing on the courthouse lawn were members of 2A (second amendment rights).
“Being from this community I have witnessed and experienced a lot of things; growing up we were told ‘it’s just the way things are,’ but this is the way it is now… I was really impressed that we pulled off a historical change in the community.” Crawford stated,
“One thing that touched my heart was seeing my family, young and old, participating, and even seeing people who said they would not be there… We will continue to educate, lead, and have conversations that no one wants to have. Change has to come.”