RIVER FALLS, Wis.-- As a 16-year-old, University of Wisconsin-River Falls emeritus professor of economics Jackie Brux witnessed the 1968 race riots that swept the country, yet she noted nothing has changed since then.
Brux is part of the group River Falls Social Justice, which organized a memorial in Veterans Park Monday, June 1, to honor the memory of George Floyd, a black man whose death a week earlier in Minneapolis has sparked protests, unrest and disorder across the country.
“Our goal today is to remind folks that River Falls is part of the Twin City metro,” she said. “Mr. Floyd and his family and friends are our neighbors. We share in their grief and in the goal of eliminating the racism that is endemic to so much of our society. We remind each other that black lives matter, even though they are so often treated as though they don't.”
River Falls Social Justice organized Monday’s memorial as a lawful, respectful and peaceful way to honor the memory of Floyd. Visitors were encouraged to leave flowers and take a handout at the memorial near Main Street at the entrance to the park.
Savana Logan and Cory Coone of River Falls said they left flowers at the site after watching the violent protests in the Twin Cities unfold over the past week in the wake of Floyd’s death in police custody.
“It’s really important for people to come together and talk about everything that’s going on right now,” Coone said.
According to Brux, River Falls Social Justice conducts regular peaceful events focused on immigration, racism, and other social justice issues. She said the group is peaceful, respectful, and lawful, and have always been well-received and joined by local churches.
In addition to the memorial, River Falls Social Justice also encouraged residents to turn on their house lights from 6-10 p.m. Monday.