Protesters on June 12, 2020 in Banks. Photo: Chas Hundley
5:45 p.m. July 3 update: The organizer for the Black Lives Matter protests has cancelled the July 4 event and future events in Banks.
“Obviously I am not the only member of this movement in Banks and people can choose to continue to protest as they see fit,” said Annika Bratton, who said they had organized the event.
Bratton said they believe the BLM protests organized in Banks do not provide a safe space for people of color.
“Those who have been attending are subject to racism and ugliness from those passing in cars,” Bratton said.
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Bratton said that, with a small group of and other community activists in Banks, the plan is to continue their work by focusing on education and by creating a reading group.
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW:
BANKS – Two rallies or protests are planned at different times for Saturday, July 4 in Banks, one billed as an event to support local law enforcement, with the other a Black Lives Matter protest.
The first rally will be from 11 – 12:30 p.m. on Main Street in front of Sunset Park, according to rally organizer Shannon Fertick Rubeo, a Hillsboro resident.
Rubeo has previously organized a similar rally in North Plains, and has another scheduled in Hillsboro in the afternoon of July 4.
Then, at 5 p.m., a Black Lives Matter protest — one of several that have been held already in Banks — just a few feet down Main Street will begin at the Banks Middle School parking lot.
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“I hope you’ll join us in expressing our patriotism this 4th of July by standing against racial injustice in our community and our country,” said Kaitlin Sommerfeld, who posted a notice for the Black Lives Matter protest on the Banks Community Bulletin Board.
Both events are billed as family friendly. Neither are expected to cause any significant traffic delays.
A poster for the Black Lives Matter protest encouraged attendees to wear masks, as did a Facebook event page for the rally in support of law enforcement.
“With everything that is going on in the news and everything I’m hearing, just the hate that is being spewed towards law enforcement, I think it’s wrong, I think 99% of people that go into law enforcement go into it for the right reasons, they’re there to help people and I was just getting angry, and like, sick to my stomach. It just made me sick everything that was being said, watching the news. And so, I just decided I wanted to just do something,” said Rubeo, who noted that the rally in support of law enforcement held in North Plains was her first experience organizing such an event. She estimates that 15 – 20 people showed up for that rally, and doesn’t know what to expect in terms of turnout in Banks.
“I back law enforcement 100%, and I also stand against racism. I don’t think it has to be one or the other. I think it’s possible to do both,” said Rubeo.