Conversation About Race Slated for Sunday in Menomonie

forum to focus on policing, education system, microaggressions

Rebecca Mennecke, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Amplify the People organized a Black Lives Matter protest in Menomonie on Sunday, June 14.
Amplify the People organized a Black Lives Matter protest in Menomonie on Sunday, June 14.

Amplify the People – a community organization looking to amplify voices of the oppressed and unite folks against injustices such as police brutality, racial inequality, and other injustices that divide the world – is facilitating a community conversation in Menomonie about defunding the police, microaggressions, and education systems this weekend.

The event will be 4-8pm on Sunday, June 21, at Menomonie’s Wilson Park (located at Wilson Avenue and Eighth Street).

Aidan Raney, founder of Amplify the People, said he hopes for diverse voices to join the conversation to create a communitywide discussion. He said he was inspired to create opportunities for discussion such as Sunday’s event after he volunteered in Minneapolis for a food drive. He said the issues “became something really huge” after that experience.

“It’s not enough to just privately disagree with what’s happening. You have to be actively anti-racist. … People can be racist and not even know it.” –Liv Bautista, organizer, Amplify the People

“These are issues that we all need to talk about,” he said.

Liv Bautista, a fellow organizer, said they’re hoping to continue the conversations about how to amplify the voices of people of color. They hope to discuss topics such as how to be a good white ally, problematic phrases, and more.

“I’m hoping that it will give people a bigger perspective,” Bautista said.

Since a protest last weekend in Menomonie, Raney said he has received threats that have made him concerned for his safety, but he isn’t letting that stop him. He’s looking to invest in a vest – perhaps something that says “event organizer” – to ensure he protects himself. But, he’s pushing forward.

“You’re going to get pushback,” he said. “You’re going to get hate.”

This event is one step forward, according to Raney and Bautista.

“It’s not enough to just privately disagree with what’s happening,” Bautista said. “You have to be actively anti-racist. … People can be racist and not even know it.”

Raney said a quote that he has found himself thinking about frequently is “change is inevitable.” When considering the future of Amplify the People, he knows he’d like to make it a nonprofit organization, focusing on racism, police brutality, and various other issues as they come. But, for the time being, he emphasizes the importance of doing what you can.

“Don’t give up, but it’s OK to take a break,” he said. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”


Learn more about Amplify the People at facebook.com/amplytheppl.