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Bellefonte is a Welcoming Community: Hate and Violence are Not Welcome Here or Anywhere Else

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

As President of Borough Council, I am speaking to our residents, neighbors, and visitors on behalf of Bellefonte Borough Council members and Bellefonte Borough Management.

On January 6, as a nation, we all witnessed with disbelief when, what should have been a peaceful protest, turned into an unlawful riot, resulting in destruction, unlawful entry, injury, and death. Our hearts go out to the families who lost loved ones and the families who had loved ones injured. Our prayers go out to every citizen of the United States to reunite. If there must be protests, they must be peaceful.

Unlawful actions that we saw last week should not be occurring in the United States of America and have no place in Bellefonte Borough. Remember that both spoken and written words affect the actions of others as they can inspire or incite. Vandalism occurred in Bellefonte in the wake of the Capitol riot. It was heart-lifting to see our community members come together to repaint a vandalized Pride Flag mural in downtown Bellefonte. We thank you for your display of respect and sense of community.

We now hear of possible protests being planned throughout the country during the inauguration of Joe Biden as our 46th President. While we support a citizen’s right to protest peacefully, we do not support events that cause injury to others or the destruction of property.

Our responsibility as elected officials is to support Federal, State, and local laws enacted to protect our residents, businesses, and properties. This Borough Council has given the Bellefonte Police Department the direction that should a peaceful protest occurring here in town turn into unlawful acts, the police will deal with it according to the law. The Bellefonte Police Department will use every resource available to ensure our community’s safety during any lawful-peaceful protest.  For the safety of protest participants and property protection, all Local, State, and Federal laws will be enforced, and those involved will be dealt with accordingly.

Our Police Department has the authority to call in whatever support is needed to maintain peace. Any resident who hears of or sees any suspicious or inappropriate activity is always encouraged to contact the Bellefonte Police Department at the non-emergency number 814-355-2320, or in an emergency, call 911. Doing this could keep you, your family, and your friends safe from harm.

Please stay safe and help keep Bellefonte peaceful and protected.

 

Joanne Tosti-Vasey

President, Bellefonte Borough Council