Rome has experienced an increase in requests for groups to assemble and, as of Wednesday afternoon, three demonstrations are approved by the Rome Police Department for this coming weekend.
On Saturday at 10 a.m. a march organized by Jace Pearson and Jaquez Brown will gather at the North Rome Church of God, 1929 N. Broad St., and march to the Town Green downtown. The assembly end time is listed as 1 p.m.
Also on Saturday, Pastor Rondie Goode said they’ve organized the Power of Truth rally at Rome City Hall, 601 Broad St. He said his church, Kingdom Church International of Adairsville, alongside other churches, expects to have music and singing at the event as well.
“This is really an assembly call for unity, love,” Goode said. “Everyone is invited and it’s a call to Unity in Christ.”
On Sunday there will be a gathering — We Matter: A Peaceful Protest — from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at City Hall.
The intention of the gathering is to honor the life of George Floyd and many others whose lives were wrongfully taken by law enforcement, said organizer Candice Spivey.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man died in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after a white police officer pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. A video shows Floyd begging the officer to remove his knee prior to his death.
Prosecutors on Wednesday expanded their case against the police who were at the scene of George Floyd’s death, charging three of the officers with aiding and abetting a murder and upgrading the charges against the officer who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck to second-degree murder.
“We will be standing for the injustices within our nation and local community. Sunday will be a time for all to come together to peacefully support the black community of Rome, Georgia, and heal the wound of racism within our relationships,” Spivey said.
“We will also be standing for justice to be served for Vanita Richardson and Truvenia Campbell, local women who were killed weeks ago and their cases are still open.”
Assistant Police Chief Debbie Burnett said the police department is working to accommodate all requests during this time.
“We fully support and respect everyone’s rights and freedom of speech,” Burnett said in a release. “We ask that everyone please comply with the city ordinance for permitting gatherings and assemblies. This helps us keep everyone safe, have time for logistics and planning for staffing such events, and provide protection for everyone involved.”
So far several groups have formed to protest in Rome locations.
This past weekend there were two peaceful assemblies in front of City Hall and on Tuesday a 30-minute gathering across Rome, but focused on Broad Street, brought people by the hundreds. The pop-up rally was organized by AMP Rome — an acronym for Art. Music. Purpose. — and participants held up signs with the names of black Americans who have been killed by police.
Permit applications should be submitted at least four days prior to the event. Applications are available online at https://www.romefloyd.com/departments/rome-police-department.
Questions about when a permit for an assembly is required can be directed to Maj. Rodney Bailey at 706-238-5111.
“Please remember when planning any type of assembly, regardless of the number of participants, in any city building, structure, parking lot, recreational facility or square, or upon any street, sidewalk, park, or public right of way which requires the temporary closing or obstruction of all or a portion, or involves a vehicle, or involves the use of any electronic sound amplification, requires the application of an assembly permit,” Burnett said. “Thank you for your cooperation as we work together to build a stronger community.”