Event scheduled to start at noon at Riverwalk Park

by Dennis Rahm

Two Chelan mothers and friends have organized what they are promoting as a “Peaceful Protest and Vigil for Systemic Change”.  Chelsey Eyre Martin and Nancy Koop have promoted the event via Facebook and are stressing their intent to hold a peaceful protest to mourn the senseless loss of life and to advocate for change.

Meanwhile, some in the area have indicated concerns with the protest in light of recent troubles in other communities. City officials are aware of the protest and have been in contact with the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office and the Chelan County PUD.

The Sheriff’s office has confirmed it will have three deputies assigned to the area during the event and additional options are also being discussed.

Below are two recent postings on Facebook regarding the Sunday event:

Nancy Koop: “We are asking the community to join us for a peaceful protest and vigil, standing against violence and systemic racism towards African Americans. We will meet near Riverwalk Park then take a short walk around town and end with lighting candles in honor of black men and women who have lost their lives to police brutality. We are not protesting local law enforcement, we are protesting and mourning the lives senselessly lost at the hands of law enforcement in our country. Please remember to follow social distancing guidelines! The PUD permit to hold the vigil in Riverwalk park requires everyone wear a mask. If you don’t have one, use a bandana or a scarf. Thank you! Be safe!”

Chelsey Eyre Martin: Hey everyone! I’m feeling so humbled and driven by all the interest. Looking forward to Sunday. Nancy and I would just like to set some “rules.”

  • While we recognize many are rightfully angry, please do not attend on Sunday if you wish to protest local law enforcement or feel yourself too angry to remain calm.
  • Meet at Riverwalk park. Please only park is designated parking.
  • While we are walking please remain socially distanced and on sidewalks. We cannot block any roadways or intersections. I have attached a screenshot of our approved route. Meet at Riverwalk, head West on Woodin, up Sanders, East on Chelan Avenue, down Columbia Street, then back on Woodin to the Riverwalk Park.

The City of Chelan responded to the social media announcement with the following statement:

The City of Chelan has been made aware of an organized protest/demonstration that is scheduled for Sunday, June 7, 2020 at 12:00 p.m.  The organizers say the demonstrators will start at the PUD Riverwalk Park, and then walk down Woodin and Johnson Avenue, mostly keeping to the sidewalks.  They stressed that the march will be peaceful and no violence or property damage is anticipated.

We strongly encourage our citizens to respect the marchers’ First Amendment rights.  We also encourage everyone who can to come out and help insure those rights are protected.

Dated this 5th day of June, 2020.