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President of Spokane's NAACP: 'Spokane made a very profound strong statement yesterday'

Regardless of destructive demonstrations that sprouted up later in the day, Kurtis Robinson said earlier peaceful demonstrations "made a very profound statement."

SPOKANE, Wash. — President of Spokane's branch of the NAACP Kurtis Robinson joined Up with KREM Monday to talk about takeaways from Sunday's protest and how residents can make Spokane a better place to live for everyone. 

Thousands of marchers peacefully demonstrated for hours Sunday, walking from the Big Red Wagon in Riverfront Park to the Spokane courthouse. After that protest dispersed, a second group of demonstrators arrived downtown, who violently clashed with police. 

Police used teargas against the demonstrators who were breaking windows downtown, and looted the Nike store. 

Robinson said the peaceful demonstration from earlier in the day sent an important message, regardless of the events that transpired later on that night. 

"Spokane made a very profound strong statement yesterday, joining in this national conversation," he said. "It points to a lot of the anxiety and desire for change within the Spokane community."

Robinson said organizations like the Proud Boys tried to capitalize off the peaceful demonstration earlier in the day. 

"Until that time, it was a historic outpouring and peaceful event that really demonstrated the heart, care, and concern - and the desire for Spokane to be part of not only a national conversation, but be a part of change as far as the criminal justice system that we're operating in, and the law enforcement community," Robinson said. 

Robinson expects demonstrations to continue in the future, and said there have been talks about more protests. 

"We really want to make sure that everybody understands that what we're looking for here is, we're looking for a change in how black, brown, indigenous people and immigrants are all viewed in our system as a whole," he said. "The desire for us to be adequately represented in systems of change and make sure that we're being humanized instead of villainized"

When asked how we can make Spokane a better place for everyone, Robinson said one easy thing you can do is get to know your neighbors. 

"This is about relationships, this is about getting to know your neighbor, this is about understanding we are all in this together and we cannot let distractions determine how and who we are as an Eastern Washington family," he said. "Reach out, look at them with a fresh lens and understand part of the problem is we have a tendency to view things as we are instead of seeing them as they are, and we really have to work on that... we need to be making sure that we're all watching out for each other because last time I looked, we were all in this together." 

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