Demonstrations sparked by the death of George Floyd have spread well beyond major urban centers to cities and towns across rural America.
In Boise, thousands of people attended a peaceful vigil this week honoring Floyd, the black Minnesota man who died after a white police officer pinned his neck for almost nine minutes, and others who lost their lives to police abuse. Demonstrations after the Tuesday evening vigil lasted until 2:30 a.m. for the third day in a row.
Events in Boise were among demonstrations in more than 350 cities across the U.S. since Floyd’s death, many in urban areas such as New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. But the protesters’ message against racism and police abuse has resonated in smaller cities and towns like Boise as growing minority communities begin to find their voice.
“The history of movements for racial equality in rural America has been overlooked. When people think of the rural West, especially, they tend to think of white communities,” said Steven Beda, a University of Oregon professor who researches rural protest movements. “Many communities of color have long and important histories in these rural communities.”
In Medford and Grants Pass — which Beda described as smaller rural towns in Oregon — demonstrations have been held for several days with hundreds of people participating. In Medford, police helped to redirect traffic to avoid conflict during the largely peaceful protests.
Beda said demonstrations in areas not known as metropolitan melting pots show the long history of the fight by people of color for labor and civil rights in towns where minorities are sometimes an invisible but vital force of rural life.
Boise, a city of 228,000 with a minority population of 18 percent, is not new to protests. Demonstrations supporting rights for children of undocumented immigrants were held in 2017 and 2019, and an MLK Day of Greatness Rally, organized by Boise State University students and staff, draw hundreds of marchers each year. But the size and energy of the crowds at the vigil and protests since Floyd’s death are unusual.
“I know these are hard times, Boise,” Mayor Lauren McLean said ahead of the vigil and protests. “And I know we are all hurting, especially members of the black community.”
For five consecutive nights, demonstrators shouting “black lives matter,” “George Floyd,” “Breonna Taylor,” and “F—Donald Trump,” were met with counter-protesters who open carried, held flags and chanted “Donald Trump,” “blue lives matter” and “Trump, Trump, Trump.” On Tuesday, Idaho State Police and Boise Police in riot gear along with more than 50 other law enforcement officers formed human barricades between the groups. No arrests were made Tuesday night.
One person was taken into custody on Monday after shots were fired near the protest and an arrest was made Wednesday in connection with graffiti on the capitol building.
The protest “speaks to the solidarity displayed across this country in calling out systemic racism that has been prevalent for decades upon decades,” Tiffany Loftin, national director of the Youth & College Division of the NAACP, told POLITICO. “No matter how small the community, that’s incredibly powerful.”
The spillover of these movements is prominent in states like California. Towns like Eureka (population 27,000) and Visalia (population 133,000) are seeing the same drive to organize by hundreds as in cities with millions.
In Visalia, local police report a blue jeep carrying an American flag and a Trump flag struck two protesters after a brief tense exchange at a stoplight.
The same push to organize is also seen in conservative states such as South Dakota and Montana, and even smaller Idaho cities.
Sioux Falls, S.D., population 181,883, saw protests that attracted more than 1,000 people. A curfew and declaration of emergency were instituted after some demonstrators clashed with police.
The town is also home the Smithfield Foods pork processing plant where most of the employees are immigrants. Recently, the plant has been forced to close after 725 workers tested positive for the coronavirus.
Demonstrations of more than 50 people in Sand Point, Idaho Falls, Ketchum and Twin Falls have also taken place over the last four days in the conservative state. Ketchum, with a population of about 2,000, and Twin Falls the with 86,000, saw up to hundreds of people gather to march, block traffic and mourn Floyd.
Similarly, Montana has seen peaceful demonstrations in five towns despite counter-protests.
“I hope these protests in smaller cities do bring visibility to some of the challenges and inequities that communities of color in rural areas face,” Beda said. “I hope it gets us beyond this dichotomy we draw between urban and rural America when we think about race.”
17 thoughts on “Floyd’s Death Reaches Rural America”
Ridiculous, this man is a life long criminal. He should not have died the way he did. The cops will be punished. He does not deserve our adoration because he is black. How about the black cops who were killed in his name, how about the black small business owners wh o were looted and burned in his name. We have got to stop allowing these people who want to divide our country by using race. We have got to stop making martyrs and hero of criminal because they are black. More white people are killed by police than black.
WHITE CONGO WANNABES.
This is a BS movement where you are laundering all the money from BLM to the DNC you are the deplorable!!!
I don’t trust this BLM movement, there’s something rotten in it, it smells of marxism.
Systemic racism, especially black against white, wasn’t much of an issue until I legitimately elected Barack Obama was in office. He stirred the pot. We’re still not convinced that this was not a well orchestrated Leftist/Marxist false flag event.
What happened to Floyd was horrible and they should b punished but they are trying to make Floyd out as this sweet , never did anything wrong guy and that isn’t true. He didn’t deserve what happened to him but he was a career criminal
So ‘the LEFT’ believe ‘A CAREER CRIMINAL SHOULD BE MADE INTO A MARTYER’.
OK. SO BE RACIST!!!
The “protest” could have been worse, even for just one of the many unnecessary dead. Old socialist/ commie Georgie Soros and his minions and sheeple could have been double or triple to what it was. And it ain’t over, yet. I guess they were running out of money to feed, house and support the thugs for the duration. The protest for the last week or so was for the Anti-American pro commies to do their damage to US small and big businesses. Hang their arse. They can’t wait to take control of the big cities.
This is nothing to do with “race” or “police” in the long run. The Dems have always been happy to exploit any black issues in their usual blatant virtue-signalling and clawing back some moral high ground. If they cared about Black Lives Mattering, then they wouldn’t haver Planned Parenthood centres in black-dominant areas. And just maybe they might have had something to say about Mohammed Noor going off their reservation who killed a white Justine Damond in July 2017, but that would have messed with their agenda, so all we heard from them were crickets.
This is all about Socialists attempting to gain control and also displace Trump, who has done more for blacks in three years than Obama did in eight; in fact, Obama mercilessly used BLM to advance his own divisive agenda.
As for “defunding police”, this does not mean that the Dems don’t want ANY police. It means they want to replace existing police with their own armed totalitarian force that will likely actively discriminate and single out Conservatives or others who do not conform to their agenda and narrative, making up their rules as they go along. Nothing good will come from it. If you think blacks will have a good time under that new force, then think again.
Both of the accompanying links are relevant and should be watched:
Carlson on BLM:
Interview on Carlson with David Garrow, author of definitive book on Obama:
They wanna protest, go for it. But do it peacefully.
Any of that arson, smashing, looting and rioting meatsockery erupts, they are going to find suburban and rural folks considerably less accommodating and cordial…. The first molotov thrown = 7.62 suppositories for all.
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