Photo Story: Inside The #SayHisName George Floyd Protest in Missoula

Ali Caudle, Reporter

Hundreds of Montanans gathered on the Missoula County Courthouse lawn on Friday, May 29 at a #SayHisName rally in response to the recent death of George Floyd in Minnesota. This was one of hundreds of rallies held nationwide as the United States grapples with the constant attacks on black Americans, particularly by police. It was organized by the University of Montana’s Black Student Union, with support from the UM Pacific Islander’s Club.

From 10:00 a.m. to shortly after 12:00 p.m., protestors stood in solidarity with the black community in Missoula, and all around the United States. The rally began with several speakers, and songs. After about half an hour, the crowd shifted to the edge of the lawn and the south sidewalk that lines Broadway Street to wave their signs towards passing cars, cheering for honks of support.

Hellgate High School was well represented at the rally. Around a dozen students showed up, as did Karen Buley, an assistant librarian. They were all wearing masks, as did the vast majority of the crowd. Understanding the dangers of gathering while COVID-19 persists, protestors made a point to distance as best as possible and were all encouraged to wear masks.

The rally was peaceful, with protestors staying by the County Courthouse the entire time. Notably, there was no police presence, as they had been informed about the rally ahead of time. The crowd dispersed after several hours, proud that they had demonstrated support and determined to continue to fight for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Since the initial protest, protestors have returned to the courthouse and downtown Missoula each day from roughly 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. with their signs in tow, showing Missoula that they won’t give up the fight.

Scroll down to check out photos from the rally.

The rally opened with several speakers, including many University of Montana students, who spoke to the crowd from the courthouse steps. (Ali Caudle)
Almost every protestor was wearing a mask the entire time, to protect against the spread of COVID-19. (Ali Caudle)
For those who did not have a face mask, volunteers set up a table giving away free masks. (Ali Caudle)
The rally was held on the Missoula County Courthouse lawn. (Ali Caudle)
The rally on Friday was organized by the University of Montana’s Black Student Union. They had a booth at the rally with information and history about the BSU. (Ali Caudle)
Protestors stood on the south edge of the lawn waving at the passing cars. (Ali Caudle)
Everyone at the rally made an effort to socially distance somewhat, by not standing too close to one another. (Ali Caudle)
Protestors also filled out along the sidewalk and edge of the street to prominently display their signs to the cars driving by. (Ali Caudle)
Protestors lined both sides of Broadway Street to surround the passing cars with their message. (Ali Caudle)
Protestors held up handmade signs to silently convey their messages. (Ali Caudle)
Some protesters made signs at the rally. (Ali Caudle)
The signs seen at the rally in Missoula were similar to the signs seen all around the country, with the same sentiments of “Black Lives Matter” and “End Police Brutality.” (Ali Caudle)
Even the smallest and simplest signs carried powerful messages. This one reads “White Silence is White Terrorism.” (Ali Caudle)
Protestors held up their signs so that people in passing cars could see them. (Ali Caudle)
Many supporters drove by, honking their horns, waving, and fist bumping the air. (Ali Caudle)
Hellgate High School students had a strong showing, with many coming out to support the cause. (Ali Caudle)
Hellgate juniors Luke O’Connell and Zara Morris proudly displayed their signs. (Ali Caudle)
Hellgate High School assistant librarian Karen Buley was also at the rally with a red hat that read “Make America Think Again.” (Ali Caudle)
There were also many families at the rally, and parents with young children in tow. (Ali Caudle)
This rally was special because it was peaceful enough that people felt safe bringing kids along. (Ali Caudle)
Music brings people together, and it was a common theme at the rally. People brought instruments, like accordions and guitars, to play, while others brought speakers. (Ali Caudle)
Some young people also took a break from standing with their signs to dance to the music. (Ali Caudle)
It was very common to see complete strangers, people of different races, ages, and genders talking to one another and getting to know one another. (Ali Caudle)
People were sharing their stories, to friends, strangers, and journalists. (Ali Caudle)
Having conversations is what will eventually bring about change. (Ali Caudle)
The majority of protestors were young. High school students and college students encompassed much of the group. (Ali Caudle)
The next generation has truly stepped up, and it will be up to them to change the world for the better. (Ali Caudle)