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‘We will be heard:’ Hundreds march through Eau Claire in George Floyd protest

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Chants rang through downtown Eau Claire Sunday afternoon in George Floyd's name, the man who died while being apprehended by Minneapolis police on Memorial Day.

"Say his name," was heard repeatedly from hundreds of protesters who wanted to send a message of peace while working to raise awareness of what they call injustice toward black people seen not only in the Twin Cities, but across the nation.

"Enough is enough!" was another chant along Water Street as protesters marched to Owen Park, saying they've had enough with police brutality, enough with prejudice and enough with turning a blind eye to systematic oppression.

"We're not going to be silent anymore," said protester Tamira Montgomery. "We're not invisible anymore. There's too many of us. And unlike our ancestors, we will not sit down. We will not be chained. We will be heard."

Those in attendance emphasized that Floyd's death was not an isolated occurrence. The protesters went on to stress they want to seek justice for anyone said to have lost their lives to racist actions, such as Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland and Trayvon Martin.

The protest's organizer, Jaylin Carlson said when she heard the news of Floyd's death she burst into tears, and decided she wanted to peacefully bring awareness to the issue in Eau Claire.

"It's heartbreaking," said Carlson. "It's gut wrenching. That's my community. Those are my brothers and sisters. That's my brother at the end of the day."

Carlson also said racism is not always violent like in Floyd's death, but from what she's seen as a biracial woman in Eau Claire, it can be everyday occurrences that are racially motivated.

"It's not necessarily the racism you'd expect, it's the little comments like, 'You're only in a scholarship program because you're black,' 'You're pretty for a black girl.'"

When it comes to making sure human rights are upheld, protesters said voting and education can go a long way.

"If you can teach your children who are growing up that just because I'm black, I'm not going to hurt you. I'm not going to run in your house, I'm not going to rob you, I'm not going to shoot you," said protester Demetria Germaney. "Not all black people are harmful, and not all white people are racist."

Eau Claire police were in support of the protest, and coordinated with organizers to clear the route of the march and help direct traffic.

The Eau Claire Health Department also said on Friday that protests were permitted in the county's public health order as long as social distancing guidelines were still followed and masks were worn.

For more photos of the Sunday protest, click or tap here.

News 18 also live streamed the event here.

Mary Pautsch

Mary came to News 18 in July 2019 from Sioux City, Iowa where she graduated from Morningside College with a BA in Spanish after attending Iowa State University for 3 years.

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