A gathering of about 15 people on Main Street near Twin Parks in Brookfield on tonight saw what many gathered expected, a mix of support and opposition. What made this gathering unique, was that it started out of a rumor, and concerned citizens decided to gather, and by word of mouth, social media and other technology the event grew, not in just numbers, but in support from the community.
“This really started out of a rumor,” Janice Shew, Brookfield, said. “It was a rumor, but we are here anyway.”
Jerry Doman, his wife and two daughters attended the event, which he said was initially rumored to be like a parade.
One man who didn’t identify himself, other than to say he was from Marceline said the event was rumored to be a protest, with large numbers of people from Macon and Columbia attending.
“Us being here is action born out of rumor,” he said noting that he heard the rumor started locally but was unable to confirm that statement.
Jerry Doman stood holding a sign reading, “Love is in the Air.” he said that he was there standing in solidarity with the rest of the nation during this time of unrest.
His daughter, Hannah Doman said she and her friend Marcus Shaw, Purdin, were one of the first to arrive. The group originally planned to stand in the park but moved to Main Street as more people gathered around 4:15 p.m.
“I am here after seeing all of the injustice and the conduct of some police across the nation,” Shaw said.
The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 has caused peaceful protests, rioting and violence across the country. Brookfield, a town of less than 4,500 according to the 2010 U.S. Census, is not the only small town across the country with peaceful protests, but the group said they wanted to do something here.
“I recall the events surrounding the deaths of George Floyd and others being mistreated by police across the country,” Shew said. “I wanted to show my support, no matter how big or small of a level some people may think it is.”
Hannah Doman agreed. “I want people to know that you can still make a difference, even in a small town, and that is important.”
Shaw said that he would have driven hours to take part in an event.
“I think in situations like these it is important to do something,” he said. “Everything you say and do, every article you share, running for office, everything matters.”
Residents from Marceline, Purdin and Brookfield attended the event, holding signs reading, “Black Lives Matter,” “No Justice, No Peace,” “I Can’t Breathe,” and “Change is Needed,” among others.
Community members stopped by, stating they wished they could stay, but dropped off water and ice cream as the evening temperatures stayed above 86 degrees.
Though the support was plentiful, so were comments from those with opposing views.
“We have heard people drive by and tell us to get jobs, or even yell ‘white power’,” Shew said as a car drove by, slowed to take photos and a passenger yelled “Black Lives Matter.”
Jerry Doman stated that Linn County Sheriff’s deputies had driven by and that there seemed to be an increase in law enforcement presence in town patrolling the area around the park.
Another attendee noted that a member of the Brookfield Police Department stopped and told the crowd that they would be supported and would extend any help or services needed to ensure the event remained peaceful.
The crowd was still standing on Main Street as of 6:45 p.m. and planned to remain until dark, or when people stopped joining.