More than 100 marchers toted Black Lives Matter movement-related signs and chanted “These racist cops have got to go” to supportive car horn honks Sunday at the Moscow Solidarity March.
The march — which began in East City Park and ended with a protest gathering in Friendship Square — was intended to promote solidarity for Black, Indiginous and people of color on the Palouse and around the country in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others at the hands of police.
“We are here to show up and let it be known that racism and police brutality will not be tolerated in this community or in our nation,” reads the march’s event description on Facebook.
All in attendance wore masks, but few practiced the 6-foot social distancing recommendation.
Unlike the June 4 protest in downtown Moscow, there was no law enforcement present during the event.
The march was organized by the Moscow Anti-Racism Alliance, a collective of about 10 people dedicated to supporting diversity in the community and educating others on how to help.
Cydnie Gray, a member of MARA and one of the march organizers, said the event aimed to make sure Moscow and surrounding cities don’t ignore problems of systemic racism and discimination.
“So many people here think we don’t have a racism problem or that racism just doesn’t exist here because of the lack of diversity, but that is just not the case,” she said. “So this is us trying to stand in solidarity and make sure we are creating this space in Moscow.”
March organizers distributed informational handbills — with a headline that reads, “Do. The. Work.” — at the march with suggestions about how to best support MARA and its movement.
Among the handbill’s contents are suggestions for organizations to donate to, such as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, ACLU and Color of Change as well as petitions to sign.
The handbill also includes the names of two local candidates who support MARA: Dulce Kersting-Lark and Renee Love. Both are running to represent District 5 in the Idaho House of Representatives.
A list of local businesses who support the BLM movement is included. Among those businesses are Maialina, Sangria, the Garden Lounge, One World Cafe and Cafe Artista, according to the list.
One marcher, Jason Kennedy, said he marched in order to amplify the voices of younger generations who have the opportunity to use social media to organize and impart change, a tool he believes has made a significant impact in today’s racial justice movements.
“These kids are the reason why this is going to change, because they’re not going to put up with it,” he said. “They have a voice, and no matter how small it is, they can make their voice heard. We didn’t have that when we were growing up.”
When asked what he’d like to change in the local community, Kennedy said he wants people to stand up to their families and friends when they overhear racist remarks.
“The little backhanded racist comments like ‘I’ve got a Black friend, so I’m not racist’ need to stop. That is an easy thing that everybody can do which will take a huge chunk out of the problem,” he said.
Kennedy said he wants people to understand the current BLM movement and effort to put an end to racially driven police brutality is more than an internet trend that will go away in a few weeks.
“Don’t get tired, don’t get bored — it’s not over,” he said.
Ellen Dennis is the news clerk at the Daily News. She can be reached at (208) 883-4632, or by email at email@example.com.