Hundreds in Eau Claire rally for change

Published: Jun. 4, 2020 at 9:55 PM CDT
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Another rally in Eau Claire Thursday evening in the memory of George Floyd, but this one was a little different.

No marching, little chanting, and a lot of performances ranging from musical acts, open mics, and speeches.

Organizers say the purpose was to start healing.

An evening filled with song, and another night of rallying in Eau Claire and across the country.

Hundreds filled Owen Park, wanting a change.

"Show people that they're not alone, and that even if we don't live the lives that a lot of people that are being affected by this day to day, that we can also treat people with decency and still empathize with people, because we're all trying to get to a better place," said Sheng Yang of Menomonie.

For organizer Violet Kilmurray, she says the protests around the nation are critical but also emotionally draining.

"George Floyd is important, it's important that all these officers are charged but it's also about all the other people across our country who have been killed unjustly by police. It's also about the 400 years of history we have of inequality," she says. "So I don't think it's time to say we're moving on, it's not time to move on. But it's time to work on how can we continue this movement while also not further hurting the communities that we're trying to help."

For Dominic Amegashitsi, the death of Floyd in police custody hit him hard.

He used to live in Minneapolis before moving to Eau Claire.

"You start kind of looking at things kind of a little different, you become more cautious of who you are, where you are, and what you're doing. And I think that feeling, you can only feel that way or be able to express it until you've actually been through it," he explained.

But Amegashitsi says the support shown throughout the community makes him believe that real change can happen this time.

"This is probably the first time I've seen how much mass people coming out to support this movement of change of policies, change of how we look at black people. So I am, yes, I am positive about this change, I'm very hopeful," he said.

Like most of the protests across the country, the message at Thursday's rally was the same.

Police brutality and racism in America needs to go away.

"All of us need to be held accountable for our actions and justice is very important. And if I commit a crime, I should be held accountable to that crime, and so should police officers," said Elizabeth Yang of Menomonie.

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