Dubuque protesters emphasize education in combating racism, inequities

Published: Jun. 14, 2020 at 11:45 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - While other protests in eastern Iowa over the last three weeks have included marching and moving around, people who joined the “Black Lives Matter Peaceful Protest” in Dubuque on Sunday largely stayed put where they were during the one-hour-long event, as organizers emphasized listening and learning before going out and doing.

“Painting a street isn’t enough. Kneeling isn’t enough. Quiet for nine minutes isn’t enough,” Jakyra Bryant, a senior at the University of Dubuque, said to the crowd. “We need you to show up. We need you to speak up because we matter.”

Bryant organized the protest at Jackson Park and centered it on the importance of education in fighting racism. Speakers educated the crowd of around 200 people on topics like microaggressions and inequalities in the justice and education systems.

Bryant said she also hoped to inform people how much change can come not just from the federal government and national elections, but also at the state and local levels.

“Why don’t we pay attention to state voting? Why do we not know about state representatives and senates and the school board and how a lot of the policies that we want to see change in Dubuque and in other counties and other cities, actually starts in their backyard, and we don’t have enough education about that in school,” Bryant said.

Bryant said she doesn’t think a lot of people truly understand systemic racism, and she said during her speech that she wants everyone to take the time to learn about it and educate themselves.

“I know that Dubuque has a very violent past when it comes to racism, and I feel like we need to change that narrative in Dubuque,” Bryant said. “We need these people to speak up — not just students on campus, but those people in power. [School Board Member] Anderson [Sainci], he’s very popular in Dubuque, and he’s the only Black elected official in Dubuque, and that’s a problem.”

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