Columbia protest focuses on inclusion, voting rights and jobs on Sunday

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COLUMBIA - Protestors marched from the Quad on MU's campus to the Boone County Courthouse at 6 p.m. Sunday in Columbia. The march began with four guest speakers.

One speaker said she wanted to address what people can do when the protest is over.

"I wanted to speak on the importance of not just stopping at a protest, but being very intentional about what you're going to do moving forward," Nikki McGruder said.

As the director of the Inclusive Impact Institute, McGruder said she's fighting for diversity, equity, and inclusion. The institute is based in Columbia and its mission statement says the organization works to strategically create "diverse and inclusive communities through collaboration, education and engagement." 

"The issues we're dealing with are systemic, so you can't just march for injustice," McGruder said. "While important, you also have to dismantle the systems that are in place."

She said she's very encouraged to see young people leading a movement. 

"They're learning, they're growing, and it's amazing."

Voting rights, jobs, and inclusion across ethnicities were discussed throughout Sunday's speeches. McGruder said understanding the importance of your vote and your voice is crucial to your understanding.

"Although it's tragic, it's disheartening, it hurts how we got here, but the entire nation is paying attention...for once." McGruder said.

The protest remained peaceful and around 100 people participated.