No justice, no peace: People’s Justice Coalition protest at capital

“I see you” was the chant. “I see the hurt, I see the pain. We are for justice, we can settle for nothing less,” was the opening chant. The preacher woman told us, “Resistance is sacred work; none of us are safe until we are all safe. Justice is sacred work.”

A coalition of nearly fifty Minnesotan organizations joined together on the steps of the state capital Saturday, Sept. 14. The message was of unity and dedication to make Minnesota a leader in civil rights again. The mechanisms of change are gathering to move us toward freedom again.

The event drew at over 300 bodies during its course, with over 200 there at its peak. About two dozen groups had tables set up in the capitol rotunda. Represented were women’s groups, Native Americans, BLM, MN-350 (opposing Enbridge pipeline #3), 50 by 30 (50 percent renewable energy by 2030), OCCURCARDS.COM (opposing Corporate personhood), immigrant movement for justice, Americans for tribal court equality, citizens against violence, ACLU (promoting criminal re-enfranchisement laws), Take Action Minnesota (speaking for Women of Color, a GLTBQ associated group), Invisible Minnesota, and even some socialists for action. The only governor official candidate active and listening was Paul Thissen.

Speakers for many groups took their turn at the microphone. Among them was Karren Willis, speaking on the need for quality health care for all and against President Trump’s recent actions to defund the subsidies for Obamacare.

Another was Minneapolis mayoral candidate, Nekima Levy-Pounds, who spoke for social justice.

“We have the energy—justice brings peace. No justice, no peace, and no human is illegal,” Levy-Ponds said in her opening statement. She finished her speech with this: “Our labor has not been in vain. We must continue to fight for our freedom.”

Several speakers talked of police accountability, while a group promoting a civilian accountability board was handing out a one-page activist tool kit. The page mentions smartphone apps, one of which is called Bambuster. This is an app that, once set up, is a one-button-press recording device that automatically saves your recording in real time on the cloud, out of reach from the authorities. The second app listed is called Cell 411 and it works as a micro-social platform for activists. It also allows you to send alerts with GPS coordinates if help is needed quickly, as well as to help you communicate more effectively. The final app is CUAPB Minnesota, which provides you with real time info on your rights, along with potential arrest advice, and allows you to submit a police brutality report on the spot. All are available through Google Play.

The weather held, the protest was peaceful, and the world goes on again tomorrow as if this made no difference. Truly, for many it did not. But for those who were there, the strength of their unity was not wasted. The pledge to fight on, to challenge ignorance and greed, to make a difference was real and powerful, giving hope and pride to all participants. The coalition building continues as the movement for sustainable change gathers steam for 2018 and 2020.

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