Hundreds of people marched through downtown Eau Claire on Sunday afternoon from Phoenix Park to Owen Park protesting the death of George Floyd.
Almost a week ago, George Floyd died while in custody of police officers in Minneapolis. Since then, one of the officers is charged with Floyd’s murder and protests have broken out all over the world seeking justice.
“Our main goal is a peaceful, peaceful, peaceful protest,” said organizer Jaylin Carlson. “We want everyone to be safe. We want everyone to remember why we’re here and that’s for justice for George Floyd and it’s also to remember the life of a man who should still be here today and isn’t.”
The first protest in Eau Claire remained peaceful and safe as organizers asked protesters to wear masks and keep things non-violent.
“It means everything,” said speaker Charlie Brown. “I mean my heart is just filled with joy to see the turnout, to see the people who understand and they know that this is going on and they’re tired of it as well.”
“It honestly shows that we aren’t alone and that they care too as much as black people and any other race,” said organizer Daminqus Ford.
Some protesters say they marched on Sunday because the cause is personal to them.
“I’m here because I am a mother to two biracial twin boys,” said protester Maggie Voth. “Our kids deserve better. I shouldn’t have to warn my kids that they shouldn’t walk outside with their hands in their pockets or that they have to be careful because they’re a young black man.”
“This is the first march I’ve participated in and it’s really emotional because my dad went through stuff like this as well,” said protester Jeffery Watkins. “Now for me, 55 years later to be doing the same thing about some of the same reasons it’s mind-blowing.”
Some protesters say they also marched to raise awareness on social injustice.
“It’s just the fear,” said Brown. “It’s the fear of a black man that you have in America today. It’s here and it’s normalized.”
“We need a change in this country not only for black people, but for anybody that’s a person of color,” said Voth. “They’re just not treated the same.”
“Have something to stand up for,” said protester Sam Alioto. “We have the power, it is our power.”
We reached out to ECPD, but they declined to comment due to wanting to allow protesters voices to be heard.