A unity rally against racism, billed as "Enough is Enough," came off exactly as organizers had intended: peaceful, abundant and, at times, uncomfortable.

"I can't breathe," Wesley Gadsden yelled out into the silence of the morning as the hundreds in attendance listened.

Gadsden enacted George Floyd's final moments, almost four minutes of pleading and calling out for a Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on his neck to get off of him.

Floyd's death while in police custody has sparked both rallies and riots throughout the world.

At around four minutes, Gadsden - with a final whimper - went silent, and event organizer Michelle Jones announced the following four minutes would be spent in silence.

That silence was only broken by the sounds of crying that would occasionally break from within the crowd.

The uncomfortable conversation continued as several speakers shared personal comments of the racism they had directly experienced or witnessed.

"Look at me! I'm a white guy, I'm a hard-core conservative preacher," said the Rev. Roy Gearhart, of Galloway United Methodist Church, the event's only white speaker.

Gearhart said watching the video of Floyd's death had brought on feelings within himself he never had expected to experience.

"When I watched the video, I saw my son-in-law's face, and I saw Ron Richburg's face," he said through tears invoking two black men: his son-in-law and a friend.

Malik Richburg, who is Ron Richburg's son, and two young women, all three alumni or current students of Franklin High School, assured the assembled crowd that racism in Venango County is not a figment of the imagination, or something that can be swept under the rug.

"I remember every student who made a racist comment and every teacher who did nothing about it," Arianne Basham said.

Basham, who had attended Franklin, said it got to a point where her parents had to pull her out of school.

Now that she has her own children, Basham said racism in school is something that she "will not tolerate" her children to suffer.

"I'm here to testify that racism lives everywhere," 17-year-old Kaia Dean said.

Dean told her story of facing racism at the hands of her former best friend's older boyfriend, the loss of said friend, and finding inspiration even in the aftermath of disappointment.

"Do you believe a community can rally together and end racism?" Dean asked the crowd.

Local hero and former Atlanta Falcons cornerback Rolland "Bay" Lawrence answered her a short time later.

"Maybe soon, for the young people, you won't have to worry,"

Lawrence provided an emotional speech on where he came from and his experience as a black child in the 1950s to where the world is today.

He told the story of a white classmate who asked the teacher if she could wash her hands because she had to hold hands with Lawrence. The teacher accepted the request.

"We're in 2020 I'm sorry we have to be here in 2020," Lawrence said as he tried to hold back tears. "I'm sorry we have to be here, but there is a need."

The crowd took to Liberty Street, walking from Bandstand Park to City Hall, to the applause and cheers of onlookers who flooded out of restaurants and shops to watch.

Co-organizer Angela Wofford said the event went much better than she and Jones could have thought.

"I feel so great, I didn't think I had it in me," said Jones, as the crowd assembled on the steps of City Hall. "It's nice to see how many supporters there are."

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