Sunday, July 5, 2020
Hundreds Turn Out to Plead for a Kinder, More Just America
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Wednesday, June 3, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Hundreds of Wood River Valley residents turned out Tuesday night to line the Main Streets of cities up and down the valley in a show of solidarity with others across the country who have been protesting  racial injustice in America for the past week.

Several hundred people lined the streets of Hailey, a big cheer going up as police officers from the Hailey Police Department took a knee outside Shorty's Diner.

Another 500 peaceful protesters lined Main Street from Irving Hill to the Argyros Performing Arts Center in Ketchum waving signs that said “All Lives Matter” and “If you’re not livid, you’re not listening.” “All lives do not matter until black lives matter” said one, while another said, “Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because you aren’t affected personally.” 

 
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One even one noted that Idaho is the most hateful state in the union, according to the Southern Law Poverty Law Center.

There were families with small children. There were students. And, of course, there were dogs.

At one point, protesters formed lines across the street hemming in motorists until a young woman urged them to let the cars through.

A few minutes later, everyone began dropping to their knees observing 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence—the time a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on the neck of a black man named George Floyd, squeezing the life out of him.

 
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With traffic absent, it was so still you could hear a pin drop, one onlooker said.

Then one woman began to shout: “I Can’t Breathe.” “I Can’t Breathe,” the crowd roared back.

Someone else chimed in with “Black Lives Matter.” “Black Live Matter,” the crowd roared back.

“No Justice. No Peace.” “No Justice. No Peace.”

 
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After several minutes of back and forth it looked as if the crowd would disperse. But they were not done. They resumed chanting and switched gears marching up Sun Valley Road.

“That was very moving,” said Nick Harman. “I hope it does some good.”

“That 8-and-a half-minute kneel was impressive,” added Ed LaGrande. “It really makes concrete just how long that was.”

The valley’s police officers were invited to stand in solidarity with the different gatherings up and down the valley. Those in Ketchum showed up in a protective manner, parking squad cars a block off Main Street to keep motorists from disturbing the protest.

 
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Sarah Sentilles said it was important to her to take part.

“One reason is to stand in solidarity with the antiracist process that is happening. The other is to make connections between the kind of visible violence that you can see that happened to George Floyd and the slower systemic violence that is no less violent that happens in communities like ours and to start thinking critically about what we can do to make a more just and less aggressive community for all,” she said.

Sentilles added that there are many things people can do to better things going forward.

“They can donate to organizations that fight racism, like Black Lives Matter. They can ask questions about where and how racism shows up in our local community and then commit themselves to try to dismantle the structures. They can look at questions about access—access to education, access to transportation, access to citizenship--and start looking at how those structures are unjust and work to try to repair them. And they can participate in reading groups that challenge us to examine the ways we may be causing others harm,” she said.

The protests that have taken place since Floyd’s death on Memorial Day already seem to have some valley residents looking inward.

Ryan Redman, who teaches mindfulness through the Flourish Foundation, recounted how he noticed a masked friend sitting in the middle of the road holding a sign that read “Black Lives Matter!” as he and his family headed out for a day of recreation.

Redman said he readily felt his heart sink at the apathy and isolation in his heart.

“Ignorance is not bliss! Ignoring the difficulties of the world perpetuates painful disconnection,” he said.

Jean Enersen said she was very sad for America’s cities and the country.

“For our people who feel promises haven’t been delivered and lives haven’t been respected. Cory Booker speaks of action that shows the way forward. I want to hear more from him and other leaders who speak of the peaceful and just way forward,” she said.

Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia, an I Have a Dream Foundation alum who spoke to Wood River High School students this spring about what it was like to be black in America, told USA Today:

“The emotional and psychological impact of racism means acutely, everyday, being reminded that you are not enough, being reminded that you are not seen, being reminded that you are not valued, being reminded that you are not a citizen, being reminded that humanity is not something that applies to you.”

And Sen. Cory Booker, who spoke at the inaugural Sun Valley Forum, said that “Peace is not merely the absence of violence; it’s the presence of justice.”

While protests have turned violent in some cities across America, Idaho’s have been peaceful.

The black community in Boise led a candlelight vigil at the State Capitol Building Tuesday night for the third day in a row. The rally attracted an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people. The rally itself was peaceful but police had to separate Black Lives Matter supporters from Blue Lives Matter counter-protesters following the rally.

The only other hiccup has been in Jerome where two teenagers were arrested after they called for violent protests on social media, encouraging participants to arm themselves with baseball bats, tasers and pepper spray—“anything to make damage.”

STAY TUNE for an upcoming Eye on Sun Valley video focusing on the Hailey and Ketchum rallies.

 

~  Today's Topics ~


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Idaho Leads Way in Positivity, Boiseans Burn Masks

Hailey Farmers Market Launches on Thursday
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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