Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper has spoken out following the protests and riot that occurred in downtown Erie last night.
Dahlkemper and the Director of Administration Gary Lee visited the State Street destruction following the riot.
Both Dahlkemper and Lee said that they are disappointed with how the event unfolded last night.
Dahlkemper added that in the 60 years she has lived in Erie, she has never seen something like this.
“What happened last night is not going to take us forward. A peaceful demonstration. I completely believe in that. I believe in people’s ability to come out and talk about it,” said Kathy Dahlkemper, Erie County Executive.
Dahlkemper added that racism exists in every community and would like to see it eliminated.
Dahlkemper and her administration have released the following statement following the riots that broke out in downtown Erie last evening:
“It is so unfortunate that yesterday’s peaceful protests turned violent. We stand with and for the many who exercised their rights peacefully early in the evening to demonstrate their frustrations and demand for change here in Erie County and across the nation after decades of inequity. We hear your fear and frustration. We see your pain. In the past three months, this pandemic has exposed the inequities even more. We have worked very hard to support and protect every resident, but the gaps have been revealed. Locally, leaders continue to work together to reverse that and to invest in communities who need it most. We have had the conversations. We have been developing programs. We have been working to make education attainable and affordable. “But in order to effect change, we must work together. Everyone needs to contribute to the establishment of new, positive policy changes. These policy changes are what will make an impact. The policy changes must be inclusive of everyone – of every age, race and gender – especially those individuals most impacted by the evident inequities. We are proud of the energy our residents have generated against the current issues. We urge every one of you to exert this energy in positive ways for Erie County. These are your businesses. These are your families. These are your opportunities. We need your help to support and protect our community at every level now more than ever. We believe in our great Erie County residents and leaders and expect positive and safe actions to be taken, said Dahlkemper.