The following is from Fargo Mayor, Tim Mahoney.
We are extremely honored to be a metro community of almost 250,000 people from diverse backgrounds, experiences and opinions. We are also honored to employ the brave men and women of the Fargo Police Department who work tirelessly to protect and serve our community.
There are things that we know: we know you are shocked and we know you are angry. We know you are frustrated and we know you are scared. But here’s what I need you to know: last night’s actions do not define this community and its people.
Here is what defines this community – the hundreds of members of the public volunteering to assist City staff members and Business Improvement District employees in cleaning up the impacted Downtown area. They began organizing online last night in the midst of the riot. That’s the Fargo I know. A Fargo where our people rise to the occasion – not divided, but together.
During much of Saturday, we saw our police and City leaders engaging in conversations with people protesting the tragic death of George Floyd. We respect and protect the right to peacefully protest. Black Lives Matter. Period. No Question. But we do not support anarchy. We do not support vandalism. That is not us – that is not Fargo.
I am extremely disappointed that a peaceful protest turned into a violent confrontation in the heart of our metro. Let’s be clear – we witnessed the true spirit of Fargo and its people the morning of Saturday, May 30. Thousands of people organized a peaceful, powerful and unified display, standing up for their beliefs. The beauty of a day of unification and empowerment was stained when it devolved into a night of conflict and violence.
Do not let the original message of thousands of our metro’s people – a message of empowerment and unity – be lost because of the actions of a few.
I believe the evening events which occurred in Downtown Fargo actions are the result of outside influencers who are not reflective of our people. We need pick ourselves up – and we’re already doing that. Glass panels can be replaced and buildings can be repaired.
The heart and soul of our community, however – that’s what we need to focus on. If we can learn from last night’s heinous acts – to become more united, to become more understanding of everyone and to disavow racism in all forms – then we will be stronger together.
Do not let the actions of anger be the aspect that echoes in our community. Now is not a time to think of retaliation; rather, we need to turn our focus to repair, both of property and, more importantly, the relationships of community members of all races. There is no question that while we need to follow the rule of law for the protection of our people and our property, we also need to hear each other. We need to be more tolerant. We need to care about each other. Divided, we can accomplish little. Today is a new day in which we can choose to move forward – Fargo Strong, together.