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Eagan Family Rallies Together to Protest for Peace

The Skog family has been protesting on Pilot Knob and Yankee Doodle Road every Thursday for seven years.

In 2003, Eagan resident Greg Skog aired his political grievances to his then grade-school aged daughter, Chelsea. 

She responded by telling him, “There’s nothing you can do about anything.”

Greg and his wife Sue took up their daughter's challenge. For the last seven years, the pair—occasionally accompanied by their children—have spent an hour every Thursday evening protesting on the corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan.

"We decided we were either going to sit around and complain about it or get out there and do something," said Sue.

And do something they did. The weekly protests began in Nov. 2004, after former president Bush’s re-election, and have been going strong ever since. Now, the gathering typically draws 10-15 protesters each week. 

“People are hurting financially right now and tons of money is still going to the Pentagon,” said Greg.

Originally, the Skogs used negative signs as a protest method, specifically targeting Eagan-based advanced technology company Lockheed Martin as a response to the company’s weapons manufacturing. 

However, in February of 2005, the Skog’s decided to switch to positive signage, asking drivers to “Honk for Peace” and “Give us the bird for peace.” Since this tactical change, the family has experienced a much warmer reception from the community. 

The Skog’s estimate that 99 out of every 100 responses to the family’s protest are positive. Community members have even brought them hot chocolate in the winter and cold water in the summer.

At first, the Skogs received frequent calls about statute violations, none of which applied the family’s protest, Greg said. At least once, the protesters have encountered police squad cars during their Thursday protest, Greg added. Eventually, though, they were able to reach an understanding with the police and the family is now on good terms with the authorities.

Although the Eagan Police Department has received several complaints from passing motorists about the protest, Eagan Police Chief Jim McDonald said the department has not yet issued any citations to the protestors. Police officers have visited with the group at least once, McDonald added.

"What they’re doing is protected by the Constitution, and actually the police department is expected to allow them to exercise their constitutional rights," McDonald said. "In many respects, law enforcement has the responsibility to make sure they can protest.”

“As long as they’re out of the right-of-way, as long as they’re carrying their signs up and down-the-right of way, they’re fine," McDonald said.

The Skogs say they don't plan to end the protest any time soon. Their youngest child, 13-year-old Eric, has been protesting every week since he was five.

“I just feel I’m sculpting my future and my generation’s future,” he said.

Barbara Gilbertson January 05, 2012 at 03:17 PM
What an extraordinary family! Seriously. That old expression about walking the talk applies to the Skogs in a very big way. Most of us (myself included) just sit at our keyboards and whine about the things that matter most to us in our state and country. It takes a lot of courage and resolve to get out there among 'em and speak one's piece. In this case, I guess it's about speaking one's peace. Kudos.
Lmea January 06, 2012 at 04:04 AM
I don't have a problem with protesting something that you believe in (that's what this country is all about), but the honking seems unnecessary. Personally, I avoid that intersection on Thursday evenings because the honking of cars in an already-crazy intersection is very distracting to me. I'm always thinking someone is honking because there is about to be an accident and half the time i slam on my breaks as a reflex to the honking. Also curious if they'll find another spot to protest once Lockheed moves out. Maybe they'll join the protestors at ATK...
ellen holmes lafans January 07, 2012 at 03:04 PM
I know the Skog family and they are an extraordinary family as are the people that join them and support them. We are fortunate to have all of them in our community. Democracy is not a spectator sport. We should all be involved in changing and improving something. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Noble Peach Prize Laureate once said "if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." I guess I look around and wonder if more people shouldn't be out in the streets. In fact, I think we should be all as made as "H". There are terrible things happening and many are so silent. My wish is the more find a voice or at least be an advocate for change - such as the Skogs. Ellen "the Nurse"
Colin Lee November 09, 2012 at 07:35 AM
Excellent article. I know the Skogs have been doing hard work for many years. It's very impressive that they're still at it even after the war in Iraq has waned and many peace folks have stopped paying attention.

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