Diverse Crowd in Cloquet Says ‘Black Lives Matter’ By Peacefully Marching Streets

A diverse group gathers with signs protesting the death of George Floyd, and other black men and women at the hands of police.

CLOQUET, Minn.-Signs in support of communities of color held by a diverse group of peaceful protesters crowded Veterans Memorial Park in Cloquet.

“It’s beautiful to see all these people out here even if there aren’t that many people of color it’s beautiful to see that we do have advocates out there,” said Melinda Nelms.

According to organizer Taysha Martineau, it was important to highlight the city’s diversity while also highlighting the struggles that plague it.

“That’s one of the best things about Cloquet that we’re a very diverse community but there is hatred and racism that is alive and well in this town and that is why I chose to bring people together in prayer as opposed to just taking the streets and shouting in anger,” Martineu said.

Speakers throughout the event helped keep the discussion of that racism alive for this generation and the next.

“I want them to know that they can make a chance and this is just one step we can do to make changes,” said Nelms, as her two young daughters Lavender and Jubilee hold signs each reading “enough.”

“People need to keep talking about it. I just don’t want this just to go away I want this to be something people talk about, everybody recognizes their biases but they need to be willing to address them and change,” she said.

After gathering at the park, the group marched through the streets with the help of Cloquet Police Department and led by Police Chief Derek Randall.

They arrived at the City Hall and Police Department, where everyone took a knee for 8 minutes and 40 seconds– the length of time George Floyd was trapped under the knee of Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.

“I was just trying to put myself in that moment to what it would feel like not only as a victim like George Floyd,” said Chief Randall, “but also as the officer and just how someone gets to that point.”

“It was difficult,” he said.

Randall hopes this show of city-wide prayer and support will cause other cities to listen and change. “I want us to be the seed that starts a bigger movement.”

“If our community and every Police department creates a social contract with each other that we are going to treat them justly and fairly…I think change would be unbelievable,” said the Chief.

Because, Martineu said, gathering everyone together to end racism won’t end racism — without those concrete plans going forward.

“Even though we come together and we prayed, solidarity is not enough when we really need to follow with swift action to expunge anti-blackness from within all of our communities,” she said.

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