Black Lives Matter protesters gather at Farmington Museum in wake of George Floyd's death
FARMINGTON — Christina King, an 18-year-old woman of African-American and Hispanic decent, stood on the edge of the street in front of Farmington Museum at Gateway Park on Friday and yelled, “Black lives matter!”
The crowd nearby echoed her chant.
“I’m tired of seeing the injustice of the system we have,” King said. “I’m tired of seeing lives being taken away for no reason.”
She carried a large pink sign that read, “All lives matter, when ours does too.”
Protesters gathered at the museum for the second official San Juan County protest demanding change and an end to police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death.
Floyd died while being arrested in Minneapolis and the death was captured on video, sparking widespread protests nationwide.
King describes herself as a born-and-raised Farmington resident. She said she has witnessed the mistreatment of people of color in the community first hand, including having people use racial slurs while referring to her.
She said she teaches her nieces and nephews to love everyone, even the people who judge them, but she also teaches them that they need to be careful because “not everybody is on your side.”
“A lot of people of color walk the streets in fear,” she said.
King said she hopes that the protests that have spread across the country in the wake of Floyd’s death lead to change.
“I hope after this, people just come together,” she said. “I don’t want us to separate.”
She said she wants policies in place that end police brutality.
“Black Lives Matter isn’t just for black people,” she said. “It’s for all people of color.”
Sheriff Shane Ferrari paused to talk to protesters and answer questions about use-of-force policies at the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office. Ferrari is among the law enforcement leaders nationwide who have denounced the incident that led to Floyd’s death, which involved an officer kneeling on Floyd's neck.
“I need to be here because I need to hear their concerns,” Ferrari said, referring to the protesters.
He was one of a handful of law enforcement officers who showed up to the protest. None of them carried shields or riot gear. Ferrari said departments that show up at protests fully equipped with riot gear are going into the situation as if anticipating a fight, which can create tension between protesters and officers. He was confident even at the start of Friday's protest that it would not get violent.
Nina Syaheda has lived in Farmington for four years but grew up in Indonesia. She said she attended the rally to support the black community in any way that she can.
As an Indonesian, she said Asians in the United States face injustices, as well, but she wanted to be there in support of the black community.
“We’re here also for the black community,” she said. “Right now, they’re the ones facing the problems.”
When she heard the news about Floyd’s death, she said she was sad and upset, and didn’t know what to think.
Like King, she said she hopes things change.
“I would like to see more people be compassionate toward people of all color,” she said.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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