The violent protests that gripped much of the nation and world for more than a week following the killing of George Floyd, an African-American man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, has not come to the Moab area, but that doesn’t mean the community wasn’t upset over this latest incident or the fallout.
People have already protested and another one is planned for Friday. Police responded to a report of graffiti at the Grand County Courthouse. Someone had written “Black Lives Matter” on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse, in chalk.
A small group carrying protest signs stood at the intersection of Main and Center streets over the weekend. On Thursday, May 28, a truck carrying a Grand County High graduate in a parade featured a sign that read, “Black Lives Matter.” One graduate wrote “I Can’t Breathe” on his mortarboard.
“I’m an elementary school art teacher from New Orleans who has been quarantining here since march with my beloved who is a local and we decided to paint a giant sign and set up in solidarity with our black brothers and sisters across the nation,” said Asa Jones, one of the downtown protesters.
“Moab exists in a blissful bubble away from many of the problems of the world, but it’s very important to plant the right seeds wherever you are,” she continued. “We were very pleasantly surprised when several other people joined us in our peaceful protest. Let it be known that even a police officer stopped by to lend his support for a moment. The results were mainly positive all in all, albeit with a significant number of people shouting out that, “All lives matter,” some giving us the finger or saying that BLM is racist … but even so, we had many conversations about how indeed all lives are sacred, but right now we need to lend our voices and bodies to specific lives that currently are being oppressed. That was generally well received. I expect that this will continue in strength and that the message that even in quiet towns in Utah, we hear the cries of our brethren and we answer them with our own.”
According to a number of social media posts, a “Black Lives Matter Justice Rally” is planned to take place at the Moab Information Center at 6 p.m. Friday. “Please make a sign, invite a friend, and attend to demand systemic change and show support to all members of our community,” wrote one poster on social media.