Keep Moving Forward: Duluth rally calls for more action on racial equity

Keep Moving Forward: Duluth rally calls for more action on racial equity
Published: Jan. 16, 2023 at 5:43 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. -- For some, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Keep Moving Forward rally at the DECC brought on a bag of mixed emotions.

“It makes me feel incredible because I know there are people out there who are looking out for me and people like me with the same skin tone,” said the emcee at the Keep Moving Forward rally Zelalem Oestreich.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward,” Martin Luther King Jr. said.

Oestreich said that quote motivated the first in-person MLK rally in the Twin Ports since the pandemic.

″That’s one of my favorite quotes because that’s very important to me because that lets me know to keep moving forward and to never stop,” said Oestreich.

Next to Oestreich stood hundreds of marchers calling out against racial injustices.

“I think that starts with us as the people showing everyone who we really are,” said Duluth MLK holiday planning committee member Adrienne Coatley. ”Showing what we do and what we contribute to this community. Giving you our perspective. Not just the perspective that someone else has created.”

Rally attendees are asking city leaders to create more safe spaces for the indigenous and BIPOC communities.

“The experiences we had in some of the ways the injustices have been laid unbarred in our society,” said Doug Bowen-Bailey, a member of Duluth’s MLK holiday planning committee. “Recognizing that there’s a lot of work for us to do to kind of realize the vision of Dr. King, and the justice that we seek within our communities.”

Although Oestreich is proud to be a member of the Twin Ports, he hopes Duluth leaders will see this as a call to take action.

”Personally, I feel like there’s a lot of talk about doing stuff,” Oestreich said. “There’s a lot of talk about that and I feel like there should be more doing. I’m not discrediting, they have been doing a ton of stuff to help out and stuff, but there should be a little more doing instead of talk.”

Other speakers and performers included the Central Hillside Community Gospel Choir, keynote speaker Anthony Galloway, and more.

We reached out to city leaders Monday for a statement.

We have not yet heard back.