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Posted on: June 4, 2020

PRESS RELEASE: A Shared Message Regarding the Upcoming Brookings Demonstration

Brookings Entryway Sign

Brookings, SD – A Shared Message from the City of Brookings, Brookings Police Department, Brookings City Council, and the Brookings Human Rights Commission:

Current events within our country have been difficult to bear over the last week as we, as a country, witnessed via video the death of George Floyd. We are shaken to the core by the actions of Minneapolis Police Officers as a man struggled and pleaded for the ability to take his last breath. As law enforcement, we are to be held to a high standard in our community. We take an oath never to betray our badge, integrity, character, or public trust. We also pledge to hold ourselves and others accountable and uphold the constitution, community, and agency we serve.

At the City of Brookings and the Brookings Police Department, we take what happened in Minnesota personally. We are truly saddened by the death of George Floyd and the tragic circumstances surrounding it. This tragedy and others like it create sorrow, uncertainty, and mistrust within communities. The actions taken by the officers in Minneapolis go against the core values of the Brookings Police Department, where we aim to serve while exhibiting professionalism, fairness, and treating others with respect and dignity while providing excellent police services. Individuals should not live in fear of those who take an oath to protect them.

Recent events have brought voices of protest across the country – voices speaking up and speaking out against bias and institutional racism. These conversations are the means by which our country needs to bring awareness and change to behaviors, ignorance, and thought processes which are not acceptable, and which need to be addressed.

This week police leadership met with organizers for the Justice for Black Lives Demonstration, Brookings, SD group, in order to form a partnership with the goal of supporting and conducting a peaceful demonstration. The Police Department will make accommodations, and strive to ensure that there is no confusion about the rights of individuals to express themselves and to assemble lawfully for that purpose.

We at the City of Brookings stand in solidarity with organizers in Brookings as we address and have transformative conversations regarding the large, complicated issue at hand. We step up to serve all citizens equally regardless of race, gender, affiliation, sexual orientation, or creed, and we’re proud to serve a community that stands up to and speaks out against bias, racism, and intolerance. We can always strive to be better.

As we as a community speak out, let’s convey a strong message – and let’s not let that expression be clouded or diluted. We ask that as a community, let’s hold ourselves to the standards we are advocating for, and be a positive model against that which we reject by assembling peacefully, respectfully, and with integrity. By coming together in protest and peaceful assembly to speak out, we exercise and uphold our constitutional right to rebuke the actions of those who abuse their position and badge. We bring conversation and clarity from ignorance, and we lay the foundation for change.

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The Brookings Human Rights Commission condemns the infringement of human rights of any person. Members of the Human Rights Commission will be in attendance at the march this Friday, and we are readily available to assist with any questions or concerns about the protection of your human rights. You can contact the Human Rights Commission via e-mail at humanrights@cityofbrookings.org, and you can find more information about our mission and programs on the City of Brookings website. The Human Rights Commission is committed to continuing the community’s focus on race relations through education, training, and community conversations. We look forward to standing alongside you on Friday and hearing from you in the future.

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Members of the Brookings Community,

We stand ready to listen to and learn from voices in our community that for too long have been marginalized. We have the privilege of occupying seven seats on your Brookings City Council and from those seats, we have the responsibility to promote the safety and security of our most vulnerable citizens. While we celebrate Brookings as the most inclusive and equitable city in South Dakota, we have to do more than talk the talk of racial equity. As community leaders, we have to walk the walk. We walk with the Justice for Black Lives Demonstration.

In an effort to continue this dialogue, the City of Brookings intends to host community conversations in the near future. These conversations will focus on strengthening relationships, improving understanding, and identifying opportunities for improvement.

We appreciate the event’s organizers for engaging several stakeholder groups and for doing all you can to ensure a peaceful march focused on our shared mission of creating an even better, more equitable community. We also want to thank the Brookings Police Department for supporting and protecting this important event.

Our only path forward is the one we walk together.

The Brookings City Council


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Note: Please see the information below which was provided to the public by the event organizers.



"What: Justice for Black Lives Demonstration- Brookings, SD

When: 6 p.m. Friday, June 5th, 2020

Where: We will start by gathering at the courthouse lawn and proceed on the route in the map. Stops for actions/Speakers will take place at the Post Office, Brookings Police Department, and the City Government Center. We will end where we started at the courthouse.

 Expectations for our demonstration: this is a peaceful march to support Justice for Black Lives and to call for continued engagement with the BIPOC community to stop systematic police brutality in our country. Demonstrators will observe the messaging of peaceful protest and intervene (if they feel comfortable) if they see participants getting off track of our demonstration. The first amendment provides us with the right to assemble publicly, and as such we are to stay on public sidewalks and cannot impede traffic.

COVID-19 safety preparations: it is highly recommended that masks are worn by every participant. We are trying to get some masks available for those that don’t have them. We understand that some would like masks to be required, but given that our demonstration will take place on public property and not private, we have no way to implement that requirement. It is STRONGLY ENCOURAGED. We will also have hand sanitizer set up at water tables. Although it is difficult to maintain the recommended 6ft distance when we are together on a sidewalk, please try and keep a full arms length-6ft distance while marching and at the stops.

 Accessibility: The route follows public sidewalks and chairs are allowed to be set up as long as they do not impede walking flow. We will use a megaphone that has been offered for any verbal messaging. If anyone is available to provide ASL translation, please let us know!

Other safety considerations: in addition to COVID-19 precautions and maintaining peaceful demonstrations, please keep in mind that it is expected to be in the high 70⁰s to low 80⁰s on Friday. Be sure to stay hydrated and alert for heat exhaustion symptoms. Wear sunscreen.

Parking: there is public parking next to the library, in front of the courthouse, at 24-hour parking at the Brookings Activity Center, and Government Center parking becomes public at 6 p.m. so we are able to use that as well.

In planning, we have had messaging and involvement with SDSU Multicultural Center and Black Student Alliance, the Brookings Human Rights Commission, and Brookings Police Department. We’ve also emailed the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Brookings Inc to ask for the support of local businesses."

 




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