“Hands up! Don’t shoot!” demonstrators belted as cars rolled by Spokane’s downtown triangle Friday evening.
About 20 people waved signs that read, “End Police Brutality,” “Stand with Ferguson,” “Remember Otto Zhem” and other phrases as a way to show that many Spokanites stand in unity with those protesting in Ferguson.
Sarah Peterson had been waiting for others to organize a Stand with Ferguson rally, but when no one did, decided to coordinate one herself. She said she wanted something to attend so she could show her rage and heartbreak about the shooting of Michael Brown.
On Aug. 14 Brown, who was unarmed, was shot six times by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo, according to police reports. He was 18. The shooting has spurred protests in Missouri, and in other parts of the country.
“For me, I needed to do something to show that I stand in solidarity with the protestors in Ferguson, that I stand with them, not with the police,” Peterson said.
She added it was important for the Spokane community to witness Friday’s rally so they know there are people in Spokane who care about and want to see an end to the racial tensions which exist throughout the country.
Peterson, who was trained as a Quaker minister, said the faith community needs to have more dialogue surrounding race. Those conversations, she said, will hopefully grow and lead to policy changes.
Lisa Logan also attended the rally, bringing her three children with her.
She said her family has been staying updated on what’s happening with Ferguson, and she wanted to her kids to know that they can take a stand even from far away.
And, she added, “Things like this happen everywhere. It happens in Spokane. We have to be responsible and speak about that.”
In Ferguson, protests continue, but have been peaceful the past two nights, according to the LA Times.
Additional photos of the Spokane rally can be viewed on the SpokaneFAVS Facebook Page.
Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Scholarly Assistant Professor at Washington State University.