Newspaper article MinnPost.com

'This Is a Countrywide Issue': Hundreds Gather in Minneapolis for Day of Resistance

Newspaper article MinnPost.com

'This Is a Countrywide Issue': Hundreds Gather in Minneapolis for Day of Resistance

Article excerpt

On a weekend when Wisconsin and Minnesota came in first and second, respectively, in a ranking of the Worst States For Black Americans, approximately 500 people took part in the Million March MN rally in the People's Park outside the Hennepin County Government Center Saturday afternoon. The protest was part of a nationwide Day of Resistance that inspired similar - if better-attended - gatherings across the country, including Boston, Houston, New York City and Washington, D.C.

"This is not a New York issue, this is not a Ferguson issue, this is a countrywide issue," Michael McDonald, of the recently formed grassroots organization Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, told the crowd, a mix of all races and ages that marched up 5th Street from the Federal Reserve building to the government center. McDonald then led the crowd in a call-and-response verse: "It's our duty to fight for freedom/It's our duty to win/We must love each other and support each other/We have nothing to lose but our chains."

Much like the Trayvon Martin and Terrance Franklin protests at the government center in July of last year, an uneasy history repeated itself with Saturday's rally, which came in the wake of the Eric Garner and Michael Brown grand jury verdicts, and on the heels of #pointergate and protests that shut down 35W earlier this month.

Co-organized by Neighborhoods Organizing for Change and Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, the rally was infused with an artistic sensibility by another grassroots organization, the Million Artist Movement. One artist, Minneapolis-based singer/teacher Jayanthi Kyle, came dressed in an elegant red dress and the American flag; the Black Lady Liberty if you will. "When I was here over a year ago, [Bob] Collins from MPR said I was disrespecting the flag," Kyle told the crowd. "And I have to say, the flag has disrespected me."

The crowd cheered in solidarity, Kyle led the throng in song and afterward commented to MinnPost, "What I thought was so wrong about it was that I was mourning a murder of a child, and that didn't matter. It made me so upset; it made me not want to not respect the flag but now I have to override him because [screw] you, that flag is mine. …

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