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Missoula demonstrators gather in solidarity with national George Floyd protests

(KPAX) — As protests continue in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, in Missoula, protesters took to the County Courthouse lawn for a round of speakers and the opportunity to break into song.

Demonstrators and officials hope their actions will help raise awareness to the protests and divisions that continue across the country.

“We are here in solidarity standing with the students of the Black Student Union at the University of Montana showing our support for them, for our black community here in Missoula, and also showing that we are standing in solidarity for the people of Minnesota,” University of Montana Pacific Islanders Club President and event speaker Kaaumoana Ahina said.

University of Montana Black Student Union President Nonso Maxwell Obieyisi said he was initially afraid of doing the rally due to Montana and Missoula being predominantly white.

“You can see it for yourself there are a lot of people, there’s a lot of diversity,” Obieyisi said. “There’s white people, there’s black people, it doesn’t matter because again this issue affects everybody so I was kind of surprised.”

He said he was emotional seeing everyone standing together in Montana.

When asked about finding a solution to the issues, protest speaker and University of Montana student Elijah Fisher suggested listening to what people are saying and reaching out to those who are different was key.

“Often you think of black and you think of all the words associated with black are negative,” Fisher said. “So we have to start thinking about (that and) I think the rhetoric needs to change but I don’t know how to change the rhetoric, I’m just one person.”