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Monticello hosts a sit-in/vigil for George Floyd

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At the vigil for George Floyd on Wednesday, June 3 locals wrote encouraging messages in chalk, brought donations to be brought to Minneapolis, took part in nine minutes of silence, and marched around Monticello chanting, "What's his name? George Floyd. What did he say? I can't breathe."

Monticello locals have set a side time to mourn the death of George Floyd and rally around Minneapolis in this time of need.

On Monday, June 1 Milli Fitzgerald-Lemke started a conversation on facebook about dedicating some time to come together as a community to show support and be proactive.

In just two days Fitzgerald-Lemke organized a peaceful vigil in honor of George Floyd and his family.

Fitzgerald-Lemke notified Wright County officials and they stationed a few police officers in the parking lot to ensure safety and to maintain a peaceful protest.

On Wednesday, June 3 locals gathered together in the Monticello Community Center parking lot from 7 to 9 p.m.

There was certainly buzz on facebook. A lot of people thought the vigil was a great idea, but wanted to take it a step further.

Along with the vigil people were encouraged to bring donations for those in need in Minneapolis.

There was a drop off station and signs telling people where to leave the supplies.

Everyone in attendance was encouraged to bring diapers, wipes, and formula as those were the items in the highest demand.

The parking lot was filled with over 100 locals carrying signs, wearing masks, and looking to make a change.

Local Carianne Moore brought her three children to the vigil.

“We all look different, but we’re all one,” Moore said. “It’s awesome to see even people that I’ve never met out here coming together. We can do more together than we can by ourselves.”

People brought chalk to write encouraging messages and a lengthy poster running along the side walk was decorated that would later be brought to the George Floyd Memorial.

Fitzgerald-Lemke addressed the crowd after a while saying, “I’m not used to giving public speeches.”

She was blown away by the turn-out.

Fitzgerald-Lemke led everyone in nine minutes of silence. Approximately how long Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck.

“Nine minutes is a long time,” Fitzgerald-Lemke said. “I’m just a girl who lives in Monticello who asked if anything was set up yet. The answer was essentially no. I put the idea out there and I got a lot of responses saying that this is something we need to do as a community. I hope that this is the start of something big and that it doesn’t stop here. We want to make a change and stand against systemic racism.”

The crowd was then led out of the parking lot on a walk around the neighborhood to create more awareness.

People marched down Sixth Street in Monticello waving their signs and chanting, “What’s his name? George Floyd. What did he say? I can’t breathe.”

Joey and Megan Siemieniak had their van set up collecting diapers for a local organization called Operation Baby New Year. The organization raises awareness while providing diapers directly to local organizations, agencies, programs, shelters, and food shelves that service thousands of families in the area.

The Siemieniak’s would bring the diapers to Minneapolis the next morning on Thursday, June 4.

“All the stores are closed, transportation is down, and people are in need,” Joey Siemieniak said. “This is way more stuff than I thought people would bring. We might need another car.”

Carrie Kline also had her van set up and was collecting cleaning supplies and food that she would deliver this weekend to Minneapolis.

“I don’t know for sure where I’m bringing it yet because the need changes daily, but I’ll be delivering all day on Saturday,” Kline said.

A little after 9 p.m. the vigil came to an end. Monticello came together as a community and created change.

Local Lance Fischer was happy to be a part of the peaceful vigil, but stressed the importance of the change going beyond the Monticello community.

“It’s not just important for our community, but everywhere,” Fischer said. “It’s time for change.”

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