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Rally speakers remember George Floyd and address racism

Posted at 2:25 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 16:25:31-04

The Justice for George Floyd rally opened with a Native American prayer on the Yellowstone County Courthouse lawn in Billings on Sunday.

Floyd, 46, died after being apprehended and held down with a knee on his neck by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25.

Those speaking talked about their experiences with racism.

"I've been told I'm the whitest black person they've ever met," said Alexis Cooper. "I've been told I'm not black enough. I've been told all black people are criminals. I've been used as the token black person. These are just a few examples of things that I've personally heard in Montana, where evidently racism doesn't happen. Back-handed racists comments are still racist."

"I'm mixed," said James Bulluck. "My mom's white. My dad lived in North Carolina. We were looked at as the black kids with the white mom. That's it. If it wasn't for my ability to play basketball growing up, I know a lot of people would've looked at me a lot differently. they've told me that."

There was some talk about police.

"I have never been held at gun point, been physically harmed or discriminated against by any local officers," said Lilly Mae. "I have been pulled over a few times because I have a lead foot. and every time I did, I was treated very kindly by the officers."

"Not all police officers are bad," said Jerry Clark. "But there are a lot of them who are actually unjust and treat people not only with disrespect but with brutality and they commit crimes and they go unpunished because they are part of a system that protects each other. That system has to change."

Supporting each other was a big commonality among the speakers.

"Thank everybody and acknowledge everybody that's here in unity and solidarity for the black lived matter movement," said Samuel Enemy Hunter."

"What I'm seeing today is by far the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in the four years I've been living here," said Ken Palmer, who along with is wife helped organize the rally.

Right before it rained, they honored George Floyd, by lying on the ground and saying "I can't breathe."

"Ready, say his name," said Taylor Arnold. "George Floyd. Thank you so much."

While some were speaking, others chanted on North 27th Street.