Protesters took to the streets of Mankato Monday to fight for justice for Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old unarmed black male shot to death by police after being pulled over for a traffic violation Sunday in Brooklyn Center.
Gathering on the Veterans Memorial Bridge, dozens of Mankato community members came together to protest police brutality.
Attracting the attention of many bystanders, the protesters also marched down the busy streets of Mankato to the Public Safety Center.
Since the murder of George Floyd, community member and protest organizer Jasmine D’Avilar has been active in organizing this and other similar protests with StandUpMankato.
“Daunte Wright should be alive today. I need to show my support and I know a lot of folks here support the movement,” she said. “Getting people together to fight is my duty and I am willing to put my life on the line for this. I am a Black woman and this is my experience day in and day out.”
Many came with signs in support of the Black Lives Matter movement while others who drove over the bridge showed support by honking car horns.
Participants were encouraged throughout the protest to speak up and voice their experiences and thoughts regarding inequality.
Community member Tim Johnson said that, as a parent, he’s afraid of what’s happening.
“It’s scary to see this. I have a 15-year-old child, my grandparents marched with Martin Luther King Jr., and my great aunt is Nellie Stone Johnson,” he said. “My family sees this for what it is and all the injustice and pain the system has caused. The system has been broken since the beginning.”
Mankato is the home to many diverse people as the population has grown by 32% in the past decade, according to citydata.com.
“There is a growing Black presence in Mankato that needs to be fought for,” protester Shadow Rolae said. “We need allies and people to come together like they did today and recognize what has been going on in the United States. Minneapolis is not too far away and this is what’s happening right next door.”
The fight for equality has been an on-going battle for people of color throughout the United States.
Mariah Williams, a junior at Minnesota State University, Mankato, said she came to support this movement toward equality.
“Every time something like this happens you always want to be there to support and be there for each other,” she said. “It could’ve been me, being Black and young in America. I see stuff like this all the time and I want to see some type of change.”
People from all walks of life showed support and stood with the people of color as allies.
“I’m here to show my support and help everyone understand how messed up the system is for people of color,” said Adam Wedzina. “Me being a white person, it really infuriates me to see other white people disagree and not understand how messed up the system is.”
MNSU student Jazmen Henderson said the importance of this gathering cannot be overstated.
“I am here to make a difference and show that we are voices that need to be heard and how we cannot downplay the importance of this movement,” he said.
Protests have taken place across the nation in response to Wright’s death. Also, both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Twins postponed their games scheduled for Monday.