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Community joins UMD student group in marching against police brutality

Ryan Juntti
Updated: September 16, 2020 11:35 PM

People of all different races and backgrounds came together on Wednesday night to take a stand against police brutality, and racial injustice against the black community.

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Community members joined UMD student group "Black Men Serving Excellence" in a peaceful protest and march on UMD's campus to advocate for the cause.

The march was organized by new student group, "Black Men Serving Excellence" or B.M.S.E. 

The group was formed last fall, and their goal is to raise awareness for voices of black students on campus, and "make UMD a safe place for everyone to come." 

They want to make clear the march was not an anti-police protest, but rather meant to fight for social justice, equality, and solidarity.

"This is where we live. This is our community, so we wanted to make a stand. We wanted to raise awareness of what's going on in our country, and what's going on in the City of Duluth, so we want to make a change, and it starts with us. It starts with us making that change and bridging that gap," said UMD Assistant Football Coach and Black Men Serving Excellence Group Advisor & Founder Marcus McLin.

The group started their peaceful protest and march at Malosky Stadium, and walked around campus, chanting and holding signs saying things like, "Black Lives Matter", and "White Silence is Violence." 

"Injustice has just been systemic for a long time, and so it's just great to see the cause and the movement growing, and we just wanted to be a part of that," said UMD Assistant Track & Field Coach Ben Niemann.

"There are parts of town that are kind of segregated, either by income or what have you, so just trying to work to bring the community together," said UMD Assistant Track & Field Coach Kari Jo Niemann.

Organizers say that starts with listening, and having tough conversations with one another.

"We want everybody to listen. Listen to our story, listen to our message. We're not here to change everybody, but we want everybody to listen to what we've been going through, or listen to what we want changed," said McLin.

And try to move forward from the past to create a better future.

"I want the whole community to feel that it's not okay for us to just continue and sit by, and go by the things that have been happening in the time like the systematic oppression that we have been facing as people of color, the police brutality, just the racial injustice," said Black Men Serving Excellence President Dayvia Gbor.     

"If we don't bring awareness, who will? And I think that we just wanted to open people's eyes and let them know that we want change, and let people know just come with listening open ears and we're more than willing to do our part of it. We're just hoping other people meet us half way," said McLin. 

Credits

Ryan Juntti

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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