Event organizer Heather Sabel-Sowers, at center holding a sign, joins other protesters June 2 at Mount Vernon and Chamblee-Dunwoody roads.

Dunwoody Village drew about 60 demonstrators — plus the mayor and police chief — June 2 as nationwide protests about racism and policing came to the suburbs.

Protesters display signs in Dunwoody Village.

The local protest was organized by Heather Sabel-Sowers of Dunwoody’s Mill Glen subdivision. She said she wanted an event her children and other families could join to as part of the democratic process to seek reforms of historic racism.

Dunwoody resident Natalie Fogle, 5, a rising kindergartner at Dunwoody Elementary School, holds a sign.

“I think like a lot of people with children, there’s been a lot of hard conversation we’ve had to have,” she said in a phone interview before the protest. “Honestly, we’re having to talk to them about injustice, racism and, in fact, murder by police officers. And it’s just really hard.”

Dunwoody residents Anaya Robinson, 9, and Aurora Nguessan, 1, join in the protest.

During the protest at Mount Vernon and Chamblee-Dunwoody roads, she held a sign reading, “Treat others how you want to be treated.”

Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan talks with protesters.

“I would have come out here by myself today, but I am so pleased of the support and turnout from Dunwoody families,” she said. “This is way worth the effort.”

From left, Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch waves while joining protesters and Dunwoody residents Rebecca Miller and daughter Sarah, a rising first-grader at Austin Elementary School.

Among the protesters was Dunwoody resident Sheila Levy, who held a sign reading, “You don’t have to be black to be outraged.” Echoing a nationwide theme of a long string of killings of black people, she said she originally wrote the slogan for a protest three years earlier in Decatur.

Dunwoody resident Sheila Levy holds the sign she made for the Decatur demonstration three years ago.

“I’m unfortunately having to use this sign again,” she said.

State Rep. Mike Wilensky (D-Dunwoody), left, takes a selfie with Chief Grogan at the protest. Mayor Deustch is the in the background.

Protesters cited several recent controversial cases. The nationwide protest trigger was the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minnesota, who died as a police officer knelt on his neck despite pleas from him and bystanders that it was killing him; the officer is now charged with murder and manslaughter. Another case was the March killing of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, who was shot by officers during a no-knock search warrant entry on her home. Yet another was the February shooting of Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick, Georgia, an unarmed jogger who was confronted by two armed white residents who claimed he acted suspiciously.

Protesters hold up signs to passing drivers.

The Dunwoody Village demonstration was the second such protest to be held that day in the city. An earlier protest gathered outside City Hall and police headquarters on Ashford-Dunwoody Road.

Dunwoody resident Alice Werthim displays a sign reading, “Hate Has No Home Here.”

Photos by Phil Mosier

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.