Recap Of Weekend Black Lives Matter And One Fargo Protests In Downtown Fargo
According to Black Lives Matter, more than 200 people attended Saturday's march
FARGO, N.D. –At Island Park in Downtown Fargo on Friday, hundreds of protesters came out for a march to city hall demanding action.
At the march, Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney announced a future meeting with Black Lives Matter and OneFargo on Wednesday.
“The more dialogue we have the better it is for everyone because then we become aware of each other and how we can be better,” Mahoney said.
Both the crowd and organizers say they felt upset with the mayor after issuing an emergency order over concerns of potential violence and destruction of property.
The group marched to have Juneteenth as a state holiday and to demand reform from the Fargo Police Department and more representation with city hall.
“They were not holding up their end and we did say on that Friday protest if we don’t seek the changes we seek, we are back on these streets,”
“They were not holding up their end, and we did say on that Friday protest, if we don’t get the changes we seek, we’re back on the streets,” organizer Anyiwei Maciek said.
Starting early on Saturday morning, organizers were back at Johnson Park on their way to the Cass County Courthouse.
On the route, police provided an escort and made sure everyone was safe.
“They could have chosen not to do this assignment today, but they do because they care, so when I look at them, I don’t look at them as the ones that are hating, I see them as the ones that are showing and caring,” Organizer Faith Dixon said.
The group chose the courthouse because they say they feel shut out by the justice system and are in need of better representation under the law.
At the courthouse, a counter protester confronted the group shouting phrases like All Lives Matter toward the crowd.
Law enforcement was quick to react.
No one was hurt and police escorted the woman away from the protest.
Organizers say they were proud of the crowd for practicing non-violence and taking the higher road.
“I don’t know if you know this but I speak with kids all the time, my messenger is very pure and very much the same. It says you gotta choose being better over being bitter at the end of the day,” Organizer Frederick Edwards said.
Organizers while at the courthouse said Mayor Mahoney approached them demanding the Wednesday meeting at City Hall.
They also say the city would not allow both Black Lives Matter and One Fargo to be a part of the same meeting with officials.
“He demanded a meeting with us and he told us what day and what time, he didn’t give us any options, he didn’t ask us if we had to work, he didn’t ask what we had to do,” Organizer Frederick Edwards said.
We reached out to the city of Fargo and they left us with this response.
“The comments issued on Friday remain relevant today. No additional comment will be issued beyond this quote.
“We as a community need to come together to build the city we love.
Now is the time for community dialogue.
The more we can work together to make a better Fargo, we’re all in.”
The group says change needs to come quicker because they will no longer stay silent.
“They have a belief that the only time we can speak is on election day, Mayor Mahoney has a belief that the only time we can speak is on election day so if Mayor Mahoney if you’re listening you’re wrong, organizer Wess Philome said.
North Dakota, South Dakota and Hawaii are the only states that do not recognize Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, as a holiday.
Gov. Doug Burgum did proclaim Juneteeth Celebration Day in North Dakota on Friday.
Democrat Shelley Lenz, who is running for governor, says it is time to make it a holiday.