In St. Paul, a new chapter of the Black Lives Matter organization recently held it’s first event. They organized #BlackFair, a march on the Minnesota State Fair.
The marchers met at Hamline park in St. Paul and listened to a host of speakers. The speakers ranged from Monique, the Aunt of Marcus Golden (who was murdered by St. Paul police in January of 2015), a local St. Paul BLM Activist, who thanked everyone who was there and spoke about the some of the different organizations that were represented throughout the crowd. She stated:
“We have Native Lives Matter to speak about what’s happening with our natives indigenous lives. It’s important they have a platform, because we are in this together, they have been supporting us and marching with us. We want to make sure that we’re embracing them.”
A large group of allies from Asian descent, #API4BlackLives, were there in solidarity and Chong, a queer Hmong-American, said:
“In silence we unconsciously condone it. We have to say it loud over and over again, ‘Black Lives Matter’.”
Before the march left the park an elder led the people in a libation and asked for protection.
As the march ensued, the one thousand strong marchers chanted and sung their way to the gates of the Minnesota State Fair.
The marched stopped once on a bridge and did a silent die-in for four minutes in remembrance of Mike Brown.
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) August 29, 2015
Police kept their distance for most of the 2 mile march, but once the march reached the State Fair, police moved quickly, locking State Fair gates, as the march grew closer.
The march rallied in front of the main gates of the State Fair, before heading back to the park. The rally featured local Black Lives Matter St. Paul organizers and also a woman who identified as a Native Lives Matter activist standing in solidarity with #BlackFair.
The St. Paul Black Lives Matter gave out flyers that had a list of demands:
“What we want”
“Department of Justice investigation regarding the St. Paul Police execution of Marcus Golden.
End of Grand Jury proceedings for police homicides and shootings.
Body cameras on all officers.
Police carry liability insurance as the primary insurance.
Immediate video recorded statement by officers involved in or witnessing police shootings, beatings, homicides.
Community control of hiring and firing police officers.
Real representation of African American and other minorities at the State Fair.
Drop all charges against Black Lives Matter Minneapolis by the City of Bloomington.”
As we followed the march back to Hamline Park, we spoke to a few of the march participants and organizers. We spoke to Dominique, a local artist, and asked what they’d like to see for the future of the movement. They said,
“I would like to see this movement go into a full fledged movement for liberation. We haven’t seen a fully black conscious awakening in this country since the 1970’s, when COINTELPRO federal surveillance, and mass incarceration attacked the Black movement. Now we have a chance to rebuild this movement.”
When we made it back the park, organizers brought everyone together and asked that they look around. They said, to remember that they were in this together and that they shouldn’t feel alone. They asked that everyone introduce themselves to each other; the crowd did, the march then closed out with chants of “We don’t die, we multiply.”
Unicorn Riot was live during the #BlackFair – here are the videos: