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Minnesota takes to the streets on inauguration day to demand a People’s Agenda

By Kim DeFranco

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Minneapolis, MN – More than 200 people gathered near South High School in Minneapolis, January 20, to demand a People’s Agenda that immediately reverses the policies of Trump and meets the demands of working people, immigrants and oppressed nationality communities. The protest rally started with the chant, “Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!”

Meredith Aby-Keirstead, a member of the MN Anti-War Committee, welcomed the crowd, “The Anti-War Committee and the Climate Justice Committee along with a coalition of many other organizations wanted to join together to say we are not going home. Today, we are in the streets to send a loud and clear message to Biden from day one we need change. We are tired of the status quo and we are here to make demands on Biden. He is making a lot of promises and we will hold him accountable.”

Throughout the rally and march, many groups spoke about these issues and put demands on Biden and all elected officials.

Autumn Lake from the Anti-War Committee emphasized, “One thing is abundantly clear: the U.S. war machine will not stop with the departure of Trump. Biden has already stacked his cabinet with foreign policy officials that are committed to continuing the U.S.’s destructive campaigns of intervention and war. The Democrat’s own legacy of war and intervention continues with the inauguration of Joe Biden. We’re going to stay in the streets and keep fighting for an end to U.S. wars, no matter who is calling the shots.”

“Defeating Trump is a victory for everyone concerned about justice,” said Austin Dewey from the Climate Justice Committee, “but Biden’s track record shows that he is unwilling to make the radical changes needed unless there’s pressure from a strong people’s movement.”

Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of the MN chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, rallied the crowd on the importance of staying in the streets, “They [the powers that be] want you to be scared to come out. But we are going to continue to be out in the streets until we get justice for all the stolen lives, until we bring back equality in all of our communities, until we free the wrongfully incarcerated, and until we protect water and our land from corporate greed that continues to rob people.”

With the chant of “Who's streets? Our streets!” the marchers took to the streets, followed by a 50-car caravan down Lake Street to the former site of the 3rd Precinct police building, which was set ablaze during the George Floyd uprising this past summer.

Marching down Lake Street, people chanted, “Take it to the streets and fuck the police! No justice, no peace” and “Too many stolen lives, we refuse to close our eyes.”

Speaking on the need for a people's agenda, David Gilbert Pederson of MN Workers United stated, “As the elites gather in Washington to celebrate the changing of the guard, working-class people all across America are still in the trenches fighting a war against U.S. empire, fighting a war against the COVID-19 virus, fighting a war against greed and austerity, fighting a war against police brutality, against deportations, against pipelines through indigenous lands, and a battle of against horrors of American capitalism.”

Monique Cullars-Doty, representing Black Lives Matter MN, was the last to address the crowd before they marched back to South High School, “It's great to be out here, we have to be out here. The people in power don't care about us, they don't care about people who don't have a voice. We want justice for all the stolen lives. An important thing I do is to work in solidarity and come out to support other movements because we all are connected. We have to remember that. We can't do it alone and you shouldn't have to do it alone. This for all us to get together in the face of injustice. Now that we have Biden in office, we must remember who this man is, a father of mass incarceration. We want our people free.”

As the march was leaving the 3rd Precinct, Jae Yates, one of the emcees and an organizer with Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, said, “Every time I see this place, I remember all of us together, watching it burn. It was a beautiful moment.”

The rally was initiated by the Anti-War Committee and the Climate Justice Committee. It was endorsed by AFSCME 34, AFSCME 2822, AFSCME 3800, Black Lives Matter Twin Cities Metro, Brown Berets MN, Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, Good Trouble for Justice, Justice4MarcusGolden, May Day Books, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, MN Peace Action Coalition, MN Workers United, MN Youth for Justice, Native Lives Matter, Nukewatch, Racial Justice Network, Students Against Pipelines, Students for a Democratic Society at UMN, Student Movement Activists of South High (SMASH), Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, UMN Climate Strike, Veterans for Peace Chapter 27, Welfare Rights Committee, Women Against Military Madness, and others.

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