Peaceful demonstrations converge on Rome

FILE — A group gathers Saturday evening, June 6, 2020, for a time of praise and worship downtown in front of Rome City Hall, 601 Broad St.

Three rallies are planned this weekend in Rome and another on Monday.

Two rallies are expected to take place at Pick O’ Deli on Dean Avenue on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

These protests are in reference to a video circulating on Facebook in which two women talk to a Pick O’ Deli manager about an employee who used a racial slur at the restaurant.

A restaurant spokesperson has responded to the video and incident on the Pick O’ Deli Facebook page, apologizing for the way the situation was handled. The employee has since been terminated and the remaining employees will go through diversity training classes.

LaDawn Leek is the organizer of the rallies and said that the rally is a “peaceful boycott of the restaurant.” It will take place on the sidewalk of the 1400 block of Dean Avenue. Leek anticipates around 60 participants at the rally.

Candice Spivey has also organized a second “Voices That Matter” protest in front of the Rome City Auditorium on Sunday. Last week’s protest drew hundreds of people from around the county. This protest will take place from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

A Facebook event called “Back the Blue Rally” is also scheduled for 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday. Their application for a gathering was approved on June 8. 

"This is a peaceful planned event to support LEO, military and first responders," said organizer Tabitha Chapman in a Facebook message.

The event is dedicated to “remember the fallen, cherish the living and honor them (law enforcement and first responders) all.” According to the Facebook event page, it will begin at City Hall, where a silent march will then move towards the Law Enforcement Center and end at the “Call to Duty” memorial.

Organizer Tabitha Chapman asks participants to make signs and to follow social distancing guidelines for the event. As of Thursday, 41 people had indicated they would attend.

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