For Immediate Release: June 30, 2023
Rapid City, SD – On July 4, NDN Action Network will mobilize along with the Indigenous community and allies in Rapid City for a March Toward Justice against targeted police violence against the Indigenous community, and in remembrance of those who are no longer with us.
In response to news of the upcoming family-friendly march, Mayor Steve Allender issued a “public safety warning” and held a press conference urging the public to report so-called “suspicious activity” over the next few days.
In response, NDN Action Network issued the following statement:
“The March Toward Justice is being planned by a diverse coalition of organizations and grassroots people who call Rapid City home, and are collaborating to publicly call out the continued violence of police against Indigenous people. We are planning a peaceful, family-friendly march, gathering, and ceremony on a day when many people choose to uplift a false notion of American freedom.
“Mayor Allender has repeatedly harped on the fact that we are planning to operate without a permit – to be clear, this is a purposeful choice on our part. Permits are meant for parades. This is an event where we are exercising our First Amendment rights. We are not seeking a permit because we are not being heard. We cannot continue to engage with the bureaucratic nature of the government who ignores us every time we cry out against the injustice they inflict on us.
“Mayor Allender suggests our event may be violent, criminal, and a public safety hazard. This kind of language, and the call on the public to be suspicious of their neighbors, is alarming. His words are the continuation of a long legacy of painting Indigenous people as dangerous people who are to be feared and reported on. This kind of thinking is exactly why we are holding this event in the first place. This kind of thinking is what gets our people killed.
“If we thought anything would change by merely following the rules, we would be doing that. But we’ve been calling out for change for decades, and the police have just become even more deadly.
“We need the outrage being directed at our upcoming family-friendly protest to be directed towards the fact that police are hurting, jailing, and killing our children, parents, uncles, siblings, and friends. We need that energy to be put into urging divestment from policing and punishment and towards community-led solutions, rehabilitation, restorative justice, and alternative approaches to punitive measures and incarceration.
“We urge our neighbors to consider the fact that the police here act suspiciously every single day, hurting our people and sweeping it under the rug. We urge our neighbors to consider the fact that for Indigenous people, police are a public safety hazard and a constant threat to our lives.
“We invite everyone who is tired of the lack of accountability and transparency from police to join us on July 4 – in protest, in community, in healing, in love, and in power.”
NDN Action Network is a non-partisan entity that advances the rights of Indigenous Peoples & the environment through direct action, policy, & lobbying.
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