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.