Two marches took place in Pelican Rapids last week in support of Black lives and justice against police brutality. The first was on Thursday, June 18 and was organized by Barbara Honer. The second took place the next day, Friday, June 19, and was organized by Ivan Olson.
Honer says her march on Thursday served two purposes: “One was to let the community of Pelican Rapids know that we support Black lives and let the brown and Black lives in the community know that we support them. The other purpose was also to bring attention to police brutality and police violence against Black and brown people.”
Both marches were peaceful and were organized in collaboration with the city and the police department. Both Honer and Olson spoke to Pelican Rapids Chief of Police Jeff Stadum to get their marches approved, which led to a curfew in Pelican Rapids Friday night from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Saturday morning.
There was a police presence at Olson’s march, which began at the park in Pelican Rapids, went over the suspension bridge to Taqueria Escobar, up Broadway to Burger King and then back down to the park. “There was a definite police presence and they had cars, they were in their cars and they would kind of drive around and follow us, so we knew they were there for sure,” Honer said.
Honer and her husband, Jon Solinger, own and operate Solinger’s Resort in Pelican Rapids. She also works part time at the Multicultural Resource Center and, before the pandemic, worked as a massage therapist. She’s happy with how her march went on Thursday, which saw about 35 participants, and says she’d consider organizing another if the need arises.
“I would say it went very well, more people attended than I expected, so that was very positive for me. The police were supportive and we worked with them, and that went well also. Overall I just think it was a positive experience for all of us involved,” she says.