Why The Small Protests In Small Towns Across America Matter

June 3, 2020

This amazing article comes from Anne Helen Petersen, an Idaho native now living in Montana. Over the weekend, she started a twitter thread about small town protests. It blossomed into a massive thread–that is still going nearly a week later–and later became this article.

Why The Small Protests In Small Towns Across America Matter

“People who’ve watched and participated in the Black Lives Matter movement say that this time feels different. And the prevalence of these small protests is one of many reasons why.”

Wyoming makes the list–with multiple peaceful protests around the state–and she featured Riverton in the article. Petersen writes:

“Riverton, population 11,000, is surrounded by the Wind River Reservation in central Wyoming. Like a lot of towns that border Native American reservations — it can feel, as Steele put it, “old-fashioned.” But on Monday, more than 150 people showed up to protest. Some were from Riverton; others drove from the reservation and as far away as Lander. An older white woman had written “THIS WYOMING NATIVE KNOWS BLACK LIVES MATTER” on the back of her T-shirt.

“In September 2019, a Riverton police officer shot and killed a Northern Arapaho man outside the local Walmart after he allegedly had attempted to stab the officer, giving new life to long-standing complaints about the mistreatment of tribal residents by off-reservation police. (Native Americans are killed by police at a higher rate than any other ethnic group in the United States.) In November, the city met with the Northern Arapaho tribal council to attempt to improve relations between the two. But as Layha Spoonhunter, who is Eastern Shoshone, Northern Arapaho, and Oglala Lakota, told me, there was significant skepticism and racism from people in town.”

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