Teenagers in Rugby organize ‘Black Lives Matter’ march

Local News

Protests sparked by the in-custody death of George Floyd are still happening around the world.
And today high school students in rural North Dakota kept the momentum going. PJ Walker was there and has the details.

Rugby North Dakota is one of the last places anyone might have expected to see a racial-justice protest…which is exactly why organizers planned it.

“Why not? There shouldn’t be a reason why we shouldn’t bring it here. It’s not a negative thing. In fact, it’s extremely positive,” said organizer Kate Heidlebaugh.

Heidlebaugh is a recent graduate of Rugby High School, and like many others, she says she was outraged by the injustices seen across America.

“We want to stand in solidarity with those who are apart of the Black Lives Matter movement,” she added.

Close to 50 people gathered in the streets of Rugby for a peaceful march. Some people from far, and some from near, chanted the names of those who have died at the hands of police officers. One of those marchers was Jared Munson from Bottineau.

“I think we’re all here for the same reasons. And that’s to end the systematic and institutionalized oppression of colored people,” said marcher Jared Munson.

Another organizer of the event says the response from the community was mixed. Some supporting the march, and others speaking out against it. She says the comments pushed her to do the march, and change the mindset of small towns across the world.

“Small towns are not exempt from activism,” said Melody Johnson, another organizer.

Even though there were some people lined along the streets of the town who disagreed, Johnson says being silent isn’t an option for her.

Johnson added, “I think white people like me..it’s our responsibility to get rid of racism. I mean black people don’t deserve this. Like this should have been gone so many years ago.”

And with voices like hers being echoed across the world…change is on the way.

The marchers had police officers there to escort them around town as they march. Both organizers say the event was a peaceful and powerful display of love for all people.

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