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Maren Beard and her husband, Tom, were having coffee in their farmhouse, when she clicked on the video: “Yeah, I mean, I immediately kind of went into a pretty intense, a very physical response. I started sobbing.”
On a recent morning, her border collie, Noche, chased sheep, and geese flew across a grey-blue sky. Floyd’s death changed her, she says: “I think it was a wakeup call, for sure. These issues can’t be on the backburner. They are something we need to think about all the time.”
Decorah, with its nearly-all-white population, has its own Black Lives Matter movement
A construction worker, asking me not to use his name, says he resents the way that store owners are asked to put the black-and-white “welcome” stickers in their windows: “Now, it’s: ‘Oh, I won’t come to your business because you don’t have a Black Lives Matter flag. Stuff like that.”
But, as veterans of the movement know, change takes time, especially in a small town.
Guy Nave lives around the corner from his old house, in the neighbourhood where he was once told that he did not belong.
The town has a long way to go, but he sees a path, one forged with affection and concern for others.
“There is no way out of the degradation of racism, the pain, the injustice, without love,” he says.
Later, he barbecued jerk chicken on a grill, in his yard. Funk music played on a loudspeaker, in a neighbourhood that seemed, at least on that evening, welcoming to all.