Dan Kates, center, seen here before the start of the march for justice in Redwood Falls on June 5, originally thought the march would be made up of just him and a few friends. Approximately 500 people marched instead, including members of area law enforcement.

On Friday, June 5, nearly 500 Redwood area residents gathered at the Redwood Falls airport to begin a march to Ramsey Park in memory of George Floyd.

Marches like that don’t just happen on their own. In this case, Dan Kates of Redwood Falls was the person with the inspiration. With the support of his family, friends, the city, and area law enforcement, the march went off better than anyone had any right to expect.

After brief addresses by Kates, Redwood Falls Mayor Tom Quackenbush, and Redwood Falls Police Chief Jason Cotner, a diverse group of volunteers and participants walked over two miles along Highway 19/71 toward the park. Passing cars honked their horns in support, and bands of supporters provided water for the walkers along the highway.

The event ended at the Zeb Gray Shelter at Ramsey Park, with a brief ceremony bringing everyone together to honor George Floyd.

KLGR News Director Joshua Dixon spoke with Kates this week about how the idea for the march came to him, how he made it happen with much help from the community, and the aftermath: