Student-led protest unites community


Christopher Edwards

Winona State University students led a Black Lives Matter protest on Oct. 21. The protest included a 22-block walk, and was organized by student Lamaree Whitson.

Christopher Edwards, Sports Reporter

Winona State University students led a Black Lives Matter protest Wednesday, Oct. 21.
The protest consisted of a 22-block walk passing Kwik Trip, Windom Park and the Winona State sign on Sarnia St.
Protest organizer and Winona State student, Lamaree Whitson, said she was sparked to lead this protest because Winona was not “home-like” and hearing about the recent news on the Breonna Taylor and George Floyd cases induced significant stress.
Whitson said the news of the Breonna Taylor case was even more relatable for her because she is a young African American woman.
Whitson noted how Breonna Taylor did nothing to provoke the police and for them to shoot her in her own home, put her on edge, and made her think “am I next?”.
Whitson also said she felt like more should and could be done, especially in a rural area like Winona.
Whitson said her goal with leading this protest was to bring attention to the “unjust murders” and to give back to the Minneapolis and St. Paul community, as they were affected by the recent rioting.
Whitson said she was able to collect over $500 dollars, ten large bags of clothing, three large bags of food and health supplies throughout the planning and execution of the protest.
Whitson said she was able to put the donations to use in two ways, by donating clothing, food and health supplies to House of Charity, a non-profit charity in downtown Minneapolis and donating to a struggling single mother in Winona.
Whitson said she donated by providing [the mother] and her daughter with food, clothing, health and kitchen supplies.
Whitson said she also plans on donating school supplies to a local non-profit organization called Ready Set School.
With the help of some community members such as Winona native and former Winona State student Harrison McCormick, they were able to contribute by giving insight on Winona and helped run the donation and information table during the protest.

McCormick said he was eager to help with the protest because of his involvement with the protesting in Minneapolis amid the death of George Floyd.
“As we saw this past summer in Minneapolis, there’s a lot of racial tension and racial issues that affect larger communities of minorities,” McCormick said.
Despite initial thoughts from Whitson about Winona, McCormick said he believes this protest, and many others like it here, show that there are people in Winona that care about social issues.
“Unless we have white people facing a cause head on, then it’s hard to get attention for it [racial injustices] which is the sad truth,” McCormick said
Whitson said she was able to get guidance from Mary Jo Klinker, a Winona State faculty member and local activist.
Klinker said she felt that Whitson “took the power to the streets and created the coalition of students to come out,”.
After all the work behind the scenes, the protest was overall a major “success” according to Whitson, due to the participation of all backgrounds, ages, genders and races.
Helping Whitson lead the protest, was Tova Strange, a fellow Winona State student, and Teyanna Ross, a local social activist.
Strange said that Whitson did a great job with conducting the protest in a peaceful, yet effective manner.
“I thought she did a really good job of collecting donations and making this a peaceful yet powerful experience,” Strange said.
After arriving back at Windom Park, Whitson closed out the protest with a line which said, “This won’t be the last fight you see for social change in Winona”.

The Oct. 21 protest also raised $500, ten bags of clothes, three bags of food and health supplies. Whitson donated to House of Charity in Minneapolis, as well as a single mother in Winona. (Christopher Edwards)