Looking back at 2020: Protests against social injustice and police brutality
U.P. protesters want justice for George Floyd and others, as well as an end to racial inequality.
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - As 2020 comes to a close, we continue our look back on the year. One of the biggest headlines centered on the national and global fight for social change.
On May 25, a man named George Floyd was murdered by a white police officer, with three other officers standing to the side, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Black Lives Matter protests were seen in a matter of hours. Across Minneapolis, around the country, and around the world. The death of Breonna Taylor and the shooting of Jacob Blake also sparked anger, among others.
Protests were also present in the Upper Peninsula, including downtown Marquette and at the Portage Lake Lift Bridge in Houghton County.
“The thing is why we’re protesting in Marquette, Michigan,” said Marquette protest organizer Calyn Franklin, “...is because we haven’t heard anything about the cops. It is your civic duty to use your voice, and speak up for what is wrong.”
Tense moments arose at some of these protests with counter protesters in Marquette. On September 27, people in Marquette protested a Louisville grand jury’s verdict in the Breonna Taylor case. One counter-protester called Taylor “a criminal.”
Over the summer, a peaceful demonstration in Marquette escalated when protestors stood in front of Marquette City Police cars.
Marquette City Police, Houghton City Police and other law enforcement agencies showed support of the peaceful protests.
“We told them that we would certainly support their peaceful march and that we would make sure to take care of traffic control,” said Houghton Police Chief John Donnelly during a protest in early June.
A Back Our Blue rally was also held in Manistique in September, showing support for law enforcement.
“If they say ‘defund our police’, think twice,” said event organizer Paul Walker. “Because if we don’t have a safe community, we don’t have a community.”
Elected officials, such as Governor Gretchen Whitmer, showed support by marching with protesters. Republican Congressman Jack Bergman says he supports peaceful protests, but not defunding the police.
One thing is clear. Voices have been heard, but the fight for social justice is just getting started.
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