On July 4th, hundreds of young Idahoans gathered to march, chant, learn, and sit in front of Boise city hall as a clear reminder to people that Black Lives Matter. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, residents of Boise have joined people from around the country and are taking to the streets in support of Black lives.
“We decided to demonstrate today in protest of a system that refuses to acknowledge or give us the benefits and rights that we deserve,” said one demonstrator. “There are subgroups of people who don’t want us here, don’t believe that we’re people, don’t believe that we have rights. Don’t believe that we deserve to be in this country. And we are here to say that there are enough of us and you can’t scare us quiet.”
Saturday’s 4th of July action was in part a response to a peaceful rally that turned violent in Boise on Tuesday, June 30, when demonstrators gathered outside of city hall during a city council meeting to call on elected leaders to move funds from police budgets into social services. As young activists –many under 18– gathered, they were confronted by hundreds of heavily armed, unmasked, white supremacists wearing Nazi regalia.
Those gathered in support of defunding the police and re-allocating city funds were documented being punched, spit on, intimidated with guns and knives, stalked, and called racist names.
“Considering this a movement that is not for white folks is a huge privilege because this is a battle for all of us,” said another participant in the July 4th rally. “It’s not Black vs. non- Black. It’s not white vs. everyone else. It’s everyone versus racism.”
The Boise Police Department identified three people involved in the racist assaults in June, and are currently in search of them. At the time of this writing no arrests have been made.