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'As long as we need to': Protester explains idea behind nightly Boise demonstrations

For weeks protesters have gathered in Boise to call for justice, change, and equality.

BOISE, Idaho — For most of the last two weeks, protesters have met nightly at the Idaho State Capitol.

They gather, talk, and march around downtown calling for justice and change.

If you've been downtown in the evenings, you've probably seen them.

"We are just people who are showing up and we want our voices to be heard," said Kimra Luna, one of many who gather every night at the Statehouse. "So, we keep showing up every day, as much as we can.

"We want to make sure that people feel safe here - people of all ethnicities and backgrounds feel safe in the Treasure Valley," Luna added.

The group marching in the evenings isn't an official organization or group, just a gathering of like-minded people. For Luna, it's about the change that hasn't yet happened.

Growing up in The Treasure Valley, Luna says witnessed racial discrimination first-hand. She left the area for 15 years before moving back to Idaho and says it was disappointing to find things really hadn't changed.

"I have seen a lot of racial injustices since I've been here since I've been back for only a year," she said. "That's been really sad for me. I really thought there would have been a lot more progress when it came to racial equities and inequalities in Idaho."

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So, she started going to the Capitol with the hope of connecting with people who have had similar experiences.  At first, it wasn't a huge crowd but their numbers have grown, especially as they continue their nightly marches through downtown.

"After we march through 8th Street, all of the sudden more people will come along," she said. "So, sometimes it's actual people who see us protesting and they end up joining in. There were 40 or 50 people there all of the sudden and we took a loop around and then all of the sudden we had 100 people."

According to Luna, it goes far beyond marching and protesting, the group also comes together to talk about how to really make a change. Because the people gathering every night are not one group though, concrete change may vary from person to person.

"We are talking about what bills and policies we see that need more work or need to be highlighted a little bit," Luna said. "Whether it's our own classrooms or our own workplaces, and start working on the racial problems that are happening there. Having more diversity and inclusion inside our organizations and businesses."

For the most part, the nightly events have stayed peaceful.

The Boise Police Department agrees, saying in a statement Tuesday:

“Overall the protests in Boise have been peaceful. There have been some tense moments and heated verbal exchanges between protesters but not with police. Thank you to the vast majority of Boise, for your civil interactions with one another and with us during this very difficult time.”

So, how long will protesters continue to meet?

"As long as we need to," Luna said. "We are looking for change and we want to keep protesting until changes start happening. It's really important that our stories are heard and that's one reason why we are out there protesting every day."

Have more questions? Luna says they are easy to talk to, and you know where to find them.

"If anyone is curious as to why we are out there, just come up and meet us and talk to us. It's very peaceful, we have the police there supporting us and making sure everything is safe," she said.

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