Thousands gather Friday for Black Lives Matter rally and protest
Thousands gathered Friday evening for a Black Lives Matter rally and march in Eau Claire.
People attended the event to speak out against racism, police brutality and also to show support for George Floyd and others.
"This wasn't really the dream that Martin Luther King dreamed about, this is what happened with a tragedy and we need to start doing something to have a better future for us and for future generations," says Trentin Sell of Eau Claire.
The event kicked off with music and speakers in Phoenix Park. Some of the speakers included UW-Eau Claire professors, local activists and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.
After the rally, protesters marched through downtown Eau Claire at one point, spanning about ten blocks. Protestors walked from Phoenix Park down Barstow Street to Water Street, then back to Phoenix Park down Farwell Street.
Some people stood on the sidelines as people passed holding signs and putting their fists in the air to show support.
Throughout the march, people chanted things like "Black Lives Matter", "Say his name", "Hands up, don't shoot" and "No justice, No peace".
"I think a lot of people haven't actually seen anything like this before and it is important that we come together as a community and stand for justice for everybody," says Kenalle Warner of Eau Claire.
Some of the people attending the event say it's important to initiate a conversation about race, especially in a city like Eau Claire.
"I feel like there really needs to be a change, just more knowledge about whats actually happening, whats happened in the past and how we can change it," says Taya Streit of Eau Claire.
Eau Claire Police were present at the march following protesters from behind and standing at the sidelines but they kept their distance and the event remained peaceful.