SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Ten days after the first George Floyd protests downtown, demonstrators pushed for defunding and disbanding police departments while calling for continued “resistance” and persistence.”
“The police are not there to serve us — they’re there to serve the state,” organizer Daud Mumin told a large crowd outside the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building Tuesday. “Our job is to defund and divest from the state and take that power back into our hands.”
Mumin demanded that Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall “divest” from the city’s police by as much as $30 million, that police homicides draw greater scrutiny and that prosecutors drop charges against protestors stemming from recent demonstrations.
He also told protestors they should stop kneeling with police.
“We need to stop asking cops to kneel with us,” Mumin said. “This isn’t the (expletive) Oscars. I don’t want your performance!”
Grace Cunningham was among the demonstrators saying money destined for police departments could be invested in education and communities.
“There are so many communities that need to be lifted up,” Cunningham said. “They need support.”
Demonstrators first gathered Tuesday evening at the Utah State Capitol at 5:30 p.m., then marched down State Street and joined a larger crowd that had gathered at 6:30 p.m. at the federal building.
Hundreds of protestors then marched together to the United States Courthouse at 351 S. West Temple.
“I think this is the first time in our generation we’ve seen it to this level,” said Prince Mugisha, who addressed the crowd at the federal building.
Mugisha spoke about the “affliction that plagues those of darker complexions.”
“The truth is that every black person has a shadow of racism and discrimination that follows them even more closely than their actual shadows — a shadow we cannot escape by going indoors because even indoors we can be murdered in our own beds in cold blood like our sister Breonna Taylor,” he stated.
Mugisha afterward expressed skepticism that he would see meaningful change in terms of equality in his lifetime.
“Will we live to see a day on this earth when black and white can stand together as equals?” He said. “And why aren’t we trying to combat something that really stands in the way of that day?”
He was encouraged by the support of hundreds of people of all races demonstrating nightly.
“When you see the number of people out here in these marches, you start to believe it’s possible,” he said.
Cunningham said she was determined to be heard by those in power and suggested demonstrations could surface as far from now as the next legislative session.
“We’re not going to stop,” Cunningham said. “Honestly, we’ll just scream louder if we have to.”
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