500 students rally at the University of Minnesota to protest police brutality
Minneapolis, MN – On Nov. 25, more than 500 students and youth gathered in front of the University of Minnesota’s Coffman Memorial Union to demand justice for Michael Brown and all other victims of police brutality.
Led by a diverse array of student groups and coordinated by Students United Against Police Brutality, the rally began with a four and a half minute moment of silence as requested nationally by the family of Michael Brown; a minute of silence for each hour Michael Brown’s lifeless body was left on display in the streets of Ferguson after his murder by police on August 9.
The rally continued with speeches expressing solidarity with those fighting back against police brutality both in Ferguson and across the country. Members from Whose Diversity?, the Black Student Union, and the Friends of Chicano and Latino Studies all spoke about the links between police brutality in Ferguson and the manifestations of racist discrimination and national oppression at University of Minnesota. They spoke of racialized crime alerts leading to increased racial profiling of Black men on campus, of non-white student groups fighting to keep their own spaces open on the second floor of Coffman Memorial Union and of university threats to defund and shut down the Chicano Studies Department and other ethnic studies departments as well.
After the speeches, the students marched across the campus quad to Morrill Hall, UMN’s administration building, and chanted for several minutes before heading to the light rail station and joining up with the larger community rally at the Third Precinct Police Station.
Matt Boynton, a member of Students for a Democratic Society at UMN, stated, “The struggle against police brutality is of vital importance not only to Black and Brown youth targeted by the police, but to all people seeking to change the U.S. political system. From the era of slave catchers and lynch mobs to the present, police violence against oppressed nationality communities is an important way the U.S. elite has maintained it’s political and economic control and needs to be combated.”