Sheldon, Iowa — An estimated 75 protesters marched peacefully early Saturday evening from the Sheldon Community Service Center to the City Park to protest the death of George Floyd, an African American man, at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer.
Sheldon High School student Ricardo Rubio was one of the Sheldon young people who organized the protest march. KIWA talked to Rubio in the minutes leading up to the protest, and he said the idea came to him after attending protests in Sioux Falls and Spencer.
(As above) “It came about because I went to visit the Sioux Falls protest that happened, and I also want to visit the Spencer one. Me and a few friends were like, hey, maybe we should have a protest here to kind of spread awareness in our community.”
Rubio says the main goal of the Sheldon protest march is to spread understanding and awareness.
(As above) “When we talk about it or mention it, usually online, we hear a lot of like backlash from people and a lot more people than we would like. So it just seems that they’re very….they don’t very much understand what’s going on. So this is just kind of to like let them know what happened and cut some of the issues of like why the Black Lives Matter protest came about.”
Rubio said that while the present focus is on Black Lives Matter, ALL lives matter, as well.
(As above) “I’m just hoping that we can educate people around here, let them know that this is a really serious thing. And though yes, when we hear all lives matter that is one hundred percent true, all lives do matter. But it’s important that we focus, right now, on our African American communities because what they’re seeing is a government that is not treating them equal to everyone else. So we need to make sure that the government is held accountable and that they can have standards, you know, they can be treated equally and have standards up to everyone else, so to truly show that all lives do matter.”
The event began at 5:00 Saturday evening, with a series of speeches in the Community Services Center parking lot, then the group proceeded to march north on the sidewalk adjacent to 4th Avenue, chanting slogans and carrying signs, until the reached the Sheldon City Park. We talked to Rubio again after the march and he told us about the group’s gathering in the park.
(As above) “We had three speakers, and we had a little bit of a fourth one towards the end, it was more of an audience member who kinda came up while we were finishing up our activities.”
There were a number of people who parked along the route of the march, and others who drove around the park….some were curious to see what was going on, and a few others appeared to be quietly trying to disrupt the protest.
(As above) “Seeing all the people who were driving around in their trucks and stuff and trying to like disrupt the protest, and there were some people standing around our speakers when we were at the park, it really hit home to me that this is what we really needed to do.”
Rubio said he was very pleased with the number of people who came out to take part in the peaceful protest.
(As above) “I’m really proud of how many people came out in support. I saw a lot of faces I recognized and I was very very proud that we had a lot of people show up. And I’m very happy and thankful that this turned out really good, and I think that this the awareness that we’re spreading with this…..it will from the people who attended, it can trickle down throughout our community so that people could be more aware.”
In addition to the protesters and curious citizens, there was also a large law enforcement presence on-hand to keep the marchers and others safe. Multiple officers from the Sheldon Police Department and the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office, along with a trio of Iowa State Troopers were on hand for the event.
Some images from Saturday’s Black Lives Matter protest march in Sheldon can be viewed below…….