OneFargo looks to distinguish itself from Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter says they have "moved on" from OneFargo.
FARGO — OneFargo started with a few local residents pushing for change and has blossomed into events that draw thousands of people.
While organizers essentially have the same message as Black Lives Matter, this week OneFargo is beginning to build and distinguish its own brand.
"March to our own tune and walk on our own path, and we decide what issues we want to tackle," said Wess Philome, one of the leaders of OneFargo.
OneFargo organizers said there are no hard feelings and the group will continue to work closely with Black Lives Matter. They felt OneFargo had to distinguish itself from the national movement to thank the community for coming together.
OneFargo said one of its key focuses moving forward is volunteering with businesses and community organizations.
"If we can do that here and share that with the rest of the world, I think that speaks absolute volumes that we would be able to create change in a place where we are such a small represented demographic," Philome said.
He said the group did not attend the City Hall meeting Wednesday, June 24, to send a message about respect. Philome says organizers were given letters following the Juneteenth march on Friday, June 19. Before opening them, they learned through the media that they were invitations to Wednesday's meeting.
"If you were to invite me to your house, you would be considerate of my time and my schedule, you would not say 'Wess, you will be at my house on this day at six o'clock,'" Philome said. "You would say, 'Wess, I would love to have you over for dinner. What day works best?'"
OneFargo does not believe going their own direction will be a challenge, saying the Black Lives Matter movement is not one-size-fits-all, and OneFargo is contributing to the larger pie.
"As long as we have people coming together to fight for equality and justice, I am absolutely OK with it. I don't care what the name is or where it's coming from, as along as there are people continually speaking out I am absolutely good with it," Philome said.