Park City peacefully rallies against hate, racism amid outcry after killing of George Floyd
More photos from the demonstration are available here.
A Park City crowd gathered on the sun-soaked turf of Dozier Field midday on Monday in tribute to George Floyd, the black man whose death in police custody in Minneapolis triggered widespread protests in the U.S., showing solidarity with those who are outraged during a peaceful demonstration that urged the crowd to speak out against racism, highlighted the civil rights movement and spoke of America as one nation.
The majority of the people at the gathering were white. There was a mix of ages that ranged from teens to senior citizens. Elected officials like Mayor Andy Beerman joined the demonstration, but it appeared that the crowd was made up mostly of everyday Parkites. The crowd spread out across a portion of the football field in what was the first major demonstration in Park City since social distancing guidelines were implemented in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Park City High School students organized the event and were some of the featured speakers.
The crowd early on kneeled on the football field for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, marking the time a police officer put his knee on Floyd’s neck. It was an especially poignant moment during the demonstration as the people silently kept their knee on the turf. Some gripped signs with messages like “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe.”
Sandra Hollins, a black state legislator from Salt Lake City, delivered some of the most notable comments of the event, speaking to the crowd about civil rights-era figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. She described the situation in the nation as “pent-up pain unleashed.”
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“Do not fight hate with hate,” she said.
Hollins said much progress has been made since segregation but more work is needed. She spoke about the importance of voting and said voting laws unfairly target black people and others. Hollins said communities of color experience pain daily and said there is outrage with another black man killed by the police.
“They fear the power of your vote,” she said.
Hollins also urged young people to become involved rather than limiting their participation to using social media and said young people were on the front lines of the civil rights era.
“Use your privilege to disrupt the system,” Hollins said.
The event on Monday was initially planned as a march on Main Street to City Park followed by a rally. The venue was changed to Dozier Field on the grounds of Park City High School shortly after the announcement that an event would be held. There were fewer logistical challenges at Dozier Field than there would have been on Main Street and on the route to City Park for an event that was planned over the course of just several days. The organizers sought a peaceful protest and, before it was shifted to Dozier Field, urged people not to loot, riot, paint graffiti or engage in violent acts. The Park City Police Department observed the demonstration. No incidents were reported. The organizers said upward of 300 people attended.
Lance Rothchild, a junior at the high school and one of the organizers, said in an interview afterward the event was successful in raising awareness and inspiring people to act.
“The ultimate goal is to completely get rid of systemic racism and police brutality,” he said, adding, “We did what we could to help.”
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