Peaceful protesters return to downtown Fargo to assist cleanup efforts

Protest organizers say it is important not to let the rioters take away from the message of the Black Lives Matter Movement

FARGO, N.D. — Less than twelve hours after rioting caused significant damage to Downtown Fargo, those same streets were filled once again, but this time, with people helping to clean up the destruction.

Among those doing the cleaning were many who organized a massive peaceful protest that proceeded the riots.

They feel the pain from Saturday night maybe more so than anyone.

“Our message was clear from the very start of our protest. We are seeking a systemic change, but this justice cannot be attainable through this violent act,” said protest organizer, Joseph Lewis.

“This defeats the purpose of which we worked so hard to do,” added protest organizer, Ritchell Aboah. “This takes away from the message and that message is that we are united. We are equal.”

Aboah has lived in Fargo for 6 years and she says yesterday was the first time she has truly felt that the city was united and that it would stand up to injustice after seeing thousands come out for the peaceful rally.

That is why she is hurting. She knows there is good here and it breaks her heart to have to see her community suffer like this. That has never been the intention.

“The judicial system that is against our people is our target, not our local business owners who have worked so hard to build what they have,” says Aboah. “We will not destroy that. That will not be the narrative of that protest yesterday.”

She says the people who caused this damage are not the same people who marched alongside her.

“Those who protest yesterday peacefully from 10a.m. – 6p.m. are out here cleaning. Helping to get our community back because we know that Fargo is a community of unity,” said Aboah. “We will not condone any violence. That will not be our message. Our message is peace and justice.”

Downtown is on it’s way back to restoring peace after Saturday’s tragic events. As a united front, the peaceful protesters, the Fargo police, and everyone who live in this community are working to make that happen.

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