In the wake of several minority citizens dying at the hands of law enforcement nationwide, protests swept across the country, including a quieter march right here in Fountain Hills on June 25.
A group organized as Together We Care marched through downtown Fountain Hills on a hot afternoon to protest police brutality toward black citizens across the country. The group, approaching 200 in number, gathered at the Fountain Park amphitheater as temperatures neared 110 degrees.
The march had been planned for a couple of weeks earlier, but as notice of the planned protest circulated on social media, the reaction gave organizers pause for concern and the event was postponed.
While some comments applauded the organizers and their efforts, others stated objections to the event being hosted in a smaller, more detached town like Fountain Hills, and both sides stated concerns as to the potential of outside “agitators” being involved, potentially leading to violence or looting.
Event organizers expected opposition but were not prepared for what they considered threatening responses from locals. It was the threatening comments, they said, that led to the protest being postponed.
One of the organizers, Gina Wood, a high school senior, told The Times at the time, “There were a lot of hateful comments and it was very alarming. We felt it best to postpone the event.”
Woods said they were pleased to have numerous comments in support of the protest.
“On the whole, there is an effort by those fighting systematic racism across the country,” Woods said. “We feel Fountain Hills is a good place to make a statement.”
Mayor Ginny Dickey supported the march and the town worked with organizers and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to assure a safe event.
Sherisa Momoh, another organizer, said they were gathered to stand in support and solidarity.
“This march is nothing but peaceful,” Momoh said. “We want to educate and turn things around for Fountain Hills.”
A handful of counter-protestors waving flags and blowing a whistle marched mostly side-by-side with the group.
Two Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies marched in front of the group up the Avenue, back down to Saguaro and around to El Lago, across and back to the amphitheater. From that point some of the group also continued around Fountain Park.