Commission members hope George Floyd death brings change

The Fairmont Human Rights Commission met virtually Wednesday to talk about local and national issues.

FAIRMONT — Members of the Fairmont Human Rights Commission weighed in on the local Black Lives Matter rallies that have taken place since the death of George Floyd in May.

The members all remember seeing rallies for this cause for years now, but the movement brought about by Floyd’s death is encouraging to the HRC.

“I feel like we’ve been seeing rallies and marches for Black lives Matter since Ferguson,” said Dani DeVito, a member of the HRC. “This moment in time feels completely, completely different. I don’t know if it’s because that video was so core shocking that there was no way for you to look at that and see anything other than this officer was in the wrong, and should have never happened.”

Several of the members commented on the video that showed now ex-officer Minneapolis Derek Chauvin holding Floyd to the ground with a knee on the back of Floyd’s neck. Chauvin and a fellow officer have both been brought up on charges for Floyd’s death.

“You couldn’t not watch, and yet it was heartbreaking to watch,” said Cindy Straight, a member of the HRC. “It was something new and horrible every single day.”

Some of the members were surprised that an event that took place in Minnesota made such an impact in West Virginia.

“I was surprised that something that happened that far away made an impact here locally,” said Gia Deasy, a member of the HRC. “We had folks that did take up the cause.”

With the members hearing of plans to continue protests and demonstrations in the city into the future, DeVito said this could be the beginning of true change throughout the country.

“It gives me hope that we’re at least taking steps in the right direction,” DeVito said. “I can’t imagine how the Black community must feel to be continuously fighting the same fight over and over and over again.”

Email Eddie Trizzino at and follow him on Twitter at @eddietimeswv.

News Reporter

Eddie Trizzino has been a reporter with the Times West Virginian since August of 2017, covering the entertainment, business and health beats. He spends most of his time listening to records, going to the movies and strolling through the town.

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