Woodbury joins wave of protests with memorial march Thursday

The move comes as smaller cities organize nationwide.
Publish date:
Screen Shot 2020-06-04 at 12.40.43 PM

Walter Dobgima has struggled to sleep since news broke of George Floyd's murder by Minneapolis police. 

"The situation with George Floyd was particularly, very traumatizing for me," he said. "This could have been me, it could have been any other person of color."  

After seeing similar sentiments on social media, he started a group with his Woodbury neighbors on NextDoor called "Equality and Justice." The positive response prompted the 39-year-old Woodbury resident of seven years to organize his first-ever protest. 

Thursday at 1 p.m., attendees will march from Colby Lake to Woodbury City Hall in memory of George Floyd and to protest against police brutality and systemic racism. With more than 100 expected to attend, the event is shaping up to be Woodbury's first large-scale demonstration in at least the last decade. 

"We no longer can just be silent about this," Dobgima said. "It's not unique to St. Paul or Minneapolis or Chicago or New York. It’s right there in our backyard in Woodbury. And I do believe that, if I want to create an impact, if I want change, I must start within my own community." 

Unprecedented protests in small cities, suburbs and towns nationwide have been reported in the last few weeks, each calling for an end to police brutality and injustice, BuzzFeed reports. The Owatonna People's Press reported a student-led protest lasted for 10 hours, drawing as many as 200 people, Wednesday. Protesters have also gathered in St. Louis Park, where Floyd lived, the Sun Sailor reports

Dobgima said the gathering will start at 1 p.m. with remarks from Woodbury Mayor Anne Burt. The march to City Hall will begin by 1:30, with an expected arrival time of 2 p.m. People are welcome to meet the march at City Hall, Dobgima said, where an eulogy for Floyd will be read, and community leaders have been invited to speak. The event is timed to align with Floyd's memorial service in Minneapolis. 

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Monday, Dobgima attended a student-led protest at Ojibway Park, which drew about 40 people. 

"While we were at that protest, we had at least three people who drove by giving us a finger and using the F-word," he said. "Was I really surprised by this? No. Woodbury is predominantly white, and some people might just never get it. They will never know what it means to live in fear." 

Still, he said, he hopes this event can spark enduring conversations about race and equality in the predominantly white, largely affluent suburb. He and co-organizers have talked about organizing more events in the future, such as a picnic. 

"This is all for us to learn and build our community," he said. "I feel like I need to start these conversations with people within my community ... We have to have these uncomfortable conversations, or else we’ll never forward." 

Submitted by Walter Dobgima

Submitted by Walter Dobgima

Next Up

minnesota state fair

Planning for the 2021 Minnesota State Fair is underway

The fair suffered huge financial losses due to COVID-19, but organizers are moving forward with planning "different scenarios" for this summer.

Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 2.16.44 PM

Heather Brown named as new WCCO 'This Morning' anchor

She will be joining Jason DeRusha on the CBS affiliate's Morning Show.

DPS John Harrington

DPS Commissioner: No credible threats to state Capitol, but ready if something arises

Local and state law enforcement officials have a plan in case a threat arises.

snow, slush (submitted photo, ok to use)

Here are snow totals from Thursday-Friday winter storm

It's a slushy mess in the metro, but snow did pile up in southern counties.

tim walz

Walz fury after report that government's COVID vaccine reserve is nonexistent

The Washington Post reported Friday that the Trump Administration has shipped out all the vaccines it has already, with none in reserve.

closed sign

What's open and closed in Minnesota on MLK Day 2021?

Local government offices will generally be closed on Monday.

BMTN 900x450 (8)

Company that falsely promised student loan forgiveness banned from MN

It's also been ordered to repay $11,499 in fees taken from Minnesotans.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID update for January 15

Hospitalizations are the lowest in Minnesota since October 25.


Osterholm: B117 COVID strain could become major issue in 6-8 weeks

The B117 variant is believed to be more easily transmitted.

General Mills

General Mills halts donations to Republicans who voted to block Biden win

Two Minnesota representatives voted against certification of results in Arizona and Pennsylvania.



Thousands sit-in at Capitol to protest police brutality, push for systemic change

The student-led protest maintained a quiet and positive atmosphere.


Obama: 'I'm urging every mayor' to reform use-of-force policies

The virtual roundtable also included Minneapolis City Council director Phillipe Cunningham

Image from iOS (25)

Faith leaders join officials urging protesters to stay home after 8pm

"To be in the street after 8 p.m. means we can’t separate you from the bad people," said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison

George Floyd

Some aren't happy Californian musician was performing at George Floyd memorial

The musician leads the worship at California-based Bethel Church.

Donald Trump

Trump calls MN "laughingstock" for initial protest response; praises Walz approach

"They walked right through it like it was butter," he said of the Saturday approach.

Image from iOS (48)

ACLU sues Minneapolis PD over actions against journalists covering protests

The lawsuit says police pepper-sprayed and threatened journalists, among other things.