Protests after Floyd’s death reach rural America

In Boise, thousands of people attended a peaceful vigil this week honoring Floyd, the black Minnesota man who died after a white police officer pinned his neck for almost nine minutes, and others who lost their lives to police abuse. Demonstrations after the Tuesday evening vigil lasted until 2:30 a.m. for the third day in a row.

Events in Boise were among demonstrations in more than 350 cities across the U.S. since Floyd’s death, many in urban areas such as New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. But the protesters’ message against racism and police abuse has resonated in smaller cities and towns like Boise as growing minority communities begin to find their voice.

“The history of movements for racial equality in rural America has been overlooked. When people think of the rural West, especially, they tend to think of white communities,” said Steven Beda, a University of Oregon professor who researches rural protest movements. “Many communities of color have long and important histories in these rural communities.”