‘We’re the free people of America’: 4th of July weekend becomes weekend of protest

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On the streets of Minneapolis, it was Independence Day.

But it was also a day of protest.

“We’re the free people of America, and we’re here to try to really change the country,” said Royce White with the 10K Foundation.

Hundreds of people, many dressed in black, took to the streets while taking part in “The Black 4th.”

Many called for justice for George Floyd and others killed in police custody.

Read KSTP’s full George Floyd coverage

“I wish we didn’t have to do this, that everything was equal,” said Dawda Touray of St. Paul. “I used to celebrate the Fourth of July like everybody else, but now I think this is the right thing to do.”

The silent march began outside U.S. Bank Stadium, flowed onto Chicago Avenue, continued along Second Avenue by the Federal Reserve, crossed the Stone Arch Bridge and ended up in St. Anthony Main.

Outside the stadium, and at several stops along the way, participants kneeled in honor of Black victims of police brutality.

“People are ready for a real change,” White said. “We’re looking to organize that and provide that and provide powerful moments for a community that’s encountered trauma, not only in the Black community but across the board.”

Organizers say this was the fifth protest by the 10K Foundation since Floyd’s death on Memorial Day.

They say they will continue rallying until arrests are made in the Breonna Taylor case.

Taylor, 26, an emergency room technician, was shot to death by police who were serving a search warrant at her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment.

Media reports say during the "no-knock" warrant, which allows police to enter a dwelling without identifying themselves, Taylor’s boyfriend shot his gun, hitting an officer in the leg.

Police opened fire, hitting Taylor eight times.

The Louisville department has fired one of the officers, but there have been no arrests in the case.

“We are out here to acknowledge the situation appearing in America as it pertains to race, as it pertains to the recent tragedy with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others,” White says.

Just an hour earlier, the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee held a "roll for justice" event outside Minneapolis City Hall.

Several hundred people gathered on bikes, skateboards and rollerblades to call for change following Floyd’s death, and for reforms with the nation’s immigration policy.

“A large focus of today is on the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement),” says Pryih, who did not want to give her last name. “With what’s going on, particularly at the border and in the concentration camps, and how we feel how that fundamentally goes against basic human rights.”

But some had also taken some time to visit the 38th and Chicago area, where Floyd was killed and where a memorial remains to this day.

Still, others are planning to take part in a Sunday march organized by the 10K Foundation from the Mall of America to the memorial site.

“We came from the George Floyd memorial,” Stacey says quietly. “We believe that as of this time, we need to be focusing on supporting Black people and the Black activists here and their struggle and their fight for equality.”