Lehigh Valley activists say Allentown City Council’s new policing dialogue falls short

Written by on August 14, 2020

Lehigh Valley activists say Allentown City Council’s new policing dialogue falls short

By Tyler Pratt

August 14, 2020

Justan Parker, founder of Lehigh Valley Black Lives Matter speaks at a protest in Downtown Allentown July 13. Photo | Tyler Pratt / WLVR

Local activists who helped spearhead recent social justice protests across the Lehigh Valley, say Allentown City Council’s new plan to address their concerns falls short. WLVR’s Tyler Pratt reports they say the plan isn’t everything they hoped for.

Among other items, the City Council’s police reform resolution creates a citizen review board and calls for more talks on law enforcement. 

Justan Parker founded Black Lives Matter in the Valley. They’ve called for bigger changes – including re-allocating police funding for mental health and community programs. 

“I’m feeling defeated again and disappointed. I really feel all of the work we have been doing just keeps getting pushed back,” said Parker

Organizer Ashleigh Strange of Lehigh Valley Stands Up, seconds Parker’s sentiment. 

“It’s also a little disheartening knowing that we fought for something and we had the opportunity to put something on the table that was really, really going to shake things up and what we got was skim milk – what we got was really watered down.”

Still, Strange says the resolution opens the door for her and Parker to keep making noise and be heard. And to start thinking ahead to the 2021 election.

Read WLVR’s coverage of recent protesters clashing in Allentown, other recent protests, as well as coverage on Allentown City Council’s response on police reform.

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