MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Local activists are once again honoring George Floyd and other victims of injustice as they gather in Mankato to support local efforts to improve race relations and uplift the African-American community.
“We’re beyond black and white,” said House of Worship Church Pastor Maurice Staley. “If you’re here and you think it’s about black and white, we can pray afterward. We’re beyond black and white. That is in the past, and we’ve left that in the dust. This is everybody versus racism.”
Friday's rally - organized by the Greater Mankato Diversity Council, Indivisible St. Peter/Greater Mankato and YWCA Mankato among others - brought multiple facets of the community together to work towards a racially equitable society.
It also served as a tribute to multiple victims of racial injustice such as George Floyd who died May 25 - almost one month ago.
“It’s not just about George Floyd, but we want to honor George Floyd,” said rally organizer Cody Benjamin. “So tonight, this is to pay tribute to victims of racial injustice. But we also want to encourage race relations in our community and uplift the black community here.”
That rally also unveiled the 2020 Rally For Racial Justice scholarship, which is designed to uplift the next generation of Greater Mankato's black/African-American community.
The scholarship offers $750 to a graduating high school senior who is moving on to the next chapter of their life.
Multiple organizations and individuals formed the scholarship including YWCA Mankato.
“This is our work,” said YWCA executive director Natasha Lopez-Rodriquez. " We are advocating for those individuals that have experienced acts of racism. Whether it be police brutality or any actions from authority. So we’re really fighting at a legislative level to change some of the laws regarding police brutality. That is what’s all behind what we do as a YWCA.”
The rally ended with a 2.35-mile march - each number paying tribute to Ahmaud Arbery, Brianna Taylor and George Floyd.