About 40 people gathered Tuesday at US Highway 40 and County Road 804, holding signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “Silence is Violence” on the second night Grand County residents showed up to support the protests across the country.
Fraser resident Quinn Hildebrandt said she was inspired to do something locally after seeing protests against police brutality and racism around the state and U.S. following the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died as a police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
On Monday, Hildebrandt posted to Facebook that she would be out at the intersection near Safeway from 5:30-7:30 p.m. every night this week to show support for the national protests. She wasn’t sure if she would end up being the only one, but she felt compelled to act.
“Personally, I’m pretty fed up with the state of the world today, and I’ve been sitting at home for two months, so I’ve got nothing better to do,” Hildebrandt said. “It’s about solidarity and letting people of color in our own community know that they’ve got allies.”
The first night, Hildebrandt guessed, around 30 people participated and she was happy to see the gathering gaining traction, including with the mayor, who saw the Facebook post and decided to join.
“It’s been a pretty great response,” she said. “I love that the mayor’s here.”
Fraser Mayor Philip Vandernail joined the group on both Monday and Tuesday with his family to show support for the message. On Facebook, he shared his pride in Fraser with some photos from the gathering.
“I’m glad my family can go out and support in times like these,” Vandernail wrote. “Be peaceful in your protests and be kind as a human.”
The message of solidarity and support resonated with many who showed up with signs, including Fraser resident Grant Culver.
Culver said he saw the call to action on Facebook and decided to join because he felt it was important to do more than just talk about police brutality and racism on social media.
“I wanted to make my voice heard and find others who support this,” Culver said. “Up here, it’s hard to see things like that, so people scoff because our police aren’t like that, but like my sign says — injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere, whether you’ve been personally affected or not.”
As the group of people stood around the intersection, passing cars honked in approval with a few drivers pumping their fists or raising peace signs out their windows. There was some dissent against the gathering with a few drivers flipping the local protestors the bird or shouting, but no real issues developed.
The only police presence at the gathering were the few squad cars that drove by with a few honking or waving to those gathered.
The group plans to continue gathering at the intersection every night through Friday.