Fight for justice continues
The week-long “occupation” of the Minneapolis Fourth Precinct police station might be winding down, says a Black Lives Matter Minneapolis (BLM) member.
“This is the most powerful thing I’ve ever been a part of,” said BLM’s Adja Gildersleve of the protest, now in its second week. She told the MSR Sunday night after a nearly four-hour closed door, packed community meeting at Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) headquarters on West Broadway, “There’s talk of ending on Tuesday,” she said. “That could be a reality. [But] I know some folk are saying they are not leaving — they want to occupy.”
When asked is it the result of Gov. Mark Dayton’s released statement that he supports the protesters, including releasing all videos in relation to Jamar Clark’s shooting by Minneapolis police officers November 15, Gildersleve said, “To some folk, it is a huge win to get the governor to actually start looking at Black lives and doing better for Black lives. But I also think the statement is not enough. We’ve been told statements since we were supposed to get 40 acres and a mule. We’re looking for more than statements.
“We can look at it as a victory…this is power,” said Gildersleve. “I feel we need to think more strategic on how we can use this power — right here and right now — to go beyond the breadcrumbs.”
“The main focus of the discussion was the next steps,” explained Gildersleve of Sunday’s meeting, which included talk on how to end the occupation “in a way and not let the energy dissipate…end it in a way we want to end it.
“It was really a good place for community members to vent and talk about their concerns. I feel it was a true listening session for the Northside. [But] you can’t listen [to] all the Northside concerns in three and a half hours. I think it was a good start,” she pointed out.
U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who met with Dayton and other community members this weekend, told the MSR Sunday night while standing with protesters keeping warm in the freezing temperatures, “I’ve organized a lot of rallies but I never saw anything like this. This is unprecedented. Wow!”
He spoke of his admiration for the protesters outside in cold weather “all for the cause of justice. We are in the position to make some real clear demands. You don’t get justice unless you protest. If this is necessary to make a fairer community — I admire all these people being out here facing this cold weather,” he said.
The Fourth Precinct occupation may be winding down, but the effort for justice and fairness continues. Pastor Danny Givens of BLM told the MSR, “It should not have taken [occupying] the Fourth Precinct” to get officials such as Dayton and other elected officials’ attention. He and other protesters are suggesting, however, that they move to another location, possibly the Hennepin County Government Center.
“We’ve got a couple of results,” noted Northside resident Yaree Watford Sr., who took Sunday night off after seven days and nights of being outside, but adds it should not signal stopping their protesting.
“There will be other front lines that will be taking place,” said Givens.
Both Gildersleve and Ellison agree that the protest outside the Northside police station has been effective.
“Freedom isn’t free — sometimes you’ve got to pay for it,” said Ellison. “These people are paying for it by standing out here in this cold. I believe they are going to be successful, and I want to be out here with them. These people voted for me to be in Congress. I stand here with them.”
Finally, the community residents “deserve to be heard. I would like to see jobs and the minimum wage raised. I would like to see housing be better. Let’s not stop at policing,” said Gildersleve, adding that equity for all Minneapolis residents must be the ultimate goal.
The information below is from a November 23 NAACP Minneapolis press release:
- A #Justice4Jamar memorial concert with Sounds of Blackness, Ashely DuBose and others will take place Tuesday, November 24 at 5 pm.
- Wednesday, November 25, at 5 pm, the NAACP Minneapolis is asking for “urging clergy, people of faith, grief counselors, and the broader community to gather informally for prayer, food, and fellowshipping to be there to provide comfort, counseling, and support for young people who will attend Jamar Clark’s funeral earlier in the day and who will be grieving and upset over his death.”
- Thursday, November 26, at 3 pm, the organization will join with Zion Baptist Church and Rev. Brian Herron to host a community Thanksgiving meal, open to all.
- Sunday, November 29, an outdoor inter-faith church service and march will take place at 11 am, open to all.
All events will be held at the Fourth Precinct at 1925 Plymouth Avenue North in Minneapolis. Call 612-210-3734 for more details.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.