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Black Lives Matter march in Berlin

This event has been postponed due to inclement weather. A new date and time will be announced.

By Ally Lanasa, Staff Writer

(June 11, 2020) The public is invited to participate in a peaceful family friendly march for the Black Lives Matter movement on Thursday from 5-6 p.m. through Berlin.

Marchers will gather in Stephen Decatur Park on Tripoli Street at 4:45 p.m., then march through Main Street.

Inspired by local peaceful protests, a group of business owners and residents in Berlin, including Alexis Southward, Chrissy Ehrhart, Allison Barton, Colleen Mullen and Debbi Dean-Colley, are planning a family friendly march to give children the opportunity to speak about the impact of racism and share personal stories.

Co-owners of Healing Arts Center of the Eastern Shore Alexis Southward and Chrissy Ehrhart organized the march with The Children’s Book Garden Owner Allison Barton, Mixed Greens Owner Debbi Dean-Colley and Colleen Mullen to give children a voice with the slogan “Small Voices-Big Message.”

“Black lives do matter and … things have not really evolved in the direction we’d like to see it,” Dean-Colley said. “I think there’s been a little regression, honestly.”

The organizers were inspired to act after witnessing protests in Ocean City, Salisbury, Cambridge, Pocomoke and Easton.

“It’s a peaceful protest, as they all were, but we wanted children to have a voice also,” Dean-Colley said. “Children tend to not be biased with color, and … we wanted them to speak.”

Children are being asked to make signs and can read a poem or a personal “Letter to the World” about the impact of racism and why black lives matter as much as others.

There will also be a display board for children who want to post their writing for others to read.

Dean-Colley and her daughters will make extra posters for those who may not have them but would like to participate.

Dean-Colley asked 11-year-old Ruby Manos to speak. Manos attended Buckingham Elementary from kindergarten to the fourth grade, and she is currently in the fifth grade at Berlin Intermediate School.

“She’s very excited. She said she had a dream the other night that she was a speaker in a protest,” Dean-Colley said.

Manos also attended the protest on the Ocean City Boardwalk on Saturday.

“She was very ambivalent and hesitant to come because she was nervous that it could be violent or destructive and then loved what she saw because it was very peaceful,” Dean-Colley said.

Other children will be given an opportunity to speak before the march begins.

Then, participants will march from the park to Main Street, down to Island Creamery and World of Toys. They will circle back to finish in the park.

The march will conclude with a moment of silence and closing statement.

Marchers will be asked to wear masks and maintain social distancing.

Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing

At the Berlin Mayor and Town Council meeting on Monday, Police Chief Arnold Downing said the Berlin

Police Department will assist marchers to give them enough space, which may require blocking the streets. Downing does not expect marchers to stay on the sidewalk.

In addition, marchers will not disturb any open businesses, who have already been affected by the pandemic.

“Peace has the most impact and brings forth the best change,” Dean-Colley said. “They will not engage with harassers and do no harm.”