The Black Lives Matter Minneapolis chapter is one of the 26 nationally affiliated and recognized chapters working in coordinated and strategic ways to end the extrajudicial killing of unarmed Black people and children, and toward healing in the Black community. The group of individuals working under the name Black Lives Matter St. Paul is currently not an affiliated group. They are an independent group of racial justice activists operating out of St. Paul. The movement of people affirming that Black lives matter is a decentralized and growing movement. As a growing movement, many people and groups have raised their voices and choose different methods and strategies to work toward the change they want to see in the world. The diversity of Black voices and experiences in American culture are necessary and important. We support the dynamic diversity of Black voices and developing Black leadership in the fight to make Black lives matter.
We understand the event #BlackMarathon, sponsored by a group of independent racial justice activists, to be a reasonable emotional response to the constant stress of living in communities plagued by police violence and harassment. As a movement and an affiliated chapter, we are committed to peaceful, nonviolent protest in all of our actions, highlighting justice as a focal point. Last week, on Thursday, Sept. 24, St. Paul resident Phillip Quinn was a victim of police shooting. Quinn’s family called police in hopes of providing assistance to the mentally ailing Native American man, but were met with excessive violence. While many are outraged at the potential disruption of the Twin Cities Marathon, few have expressed concern over Quinn’s death or the continued state sanctioned violence that prevails in our communities.
“The culture of policing Black and brown communities with unnecessary deadly force is why protests and disruption are necessary. The relative lack of concern by government officials, the media, and the general public over the epidemic of police brutality against Black and brown bodies is alarming. That leaders and the general public would allow the continued worst-in-the-nation racial disparities for Black people to exist across Minnesota reveals a corrosive, festering sore in the moral heart of our state and country,” said BLM Mpls. organizer Lena K. Gardner, “The extrajudicial killings of Black and brown people at disproportionately high rates is not an inevitable outcome of policing, and we know how to stop it. We need people in power to start listening to and acting to protect Black lives with the same veracity white lives are protected.”
To work toward building this movement for Black Lives in Minnesota, the Minneapolis Chapter of Black Lives Matter will host a series of Community Talkbacks in the second half of October. We will be asking communities of color in Minneapolis most directly affected by structural racial and economic inequalities to voice their concerns, their thoughts, and share their insights with us. We will invite community members to continue to build with us to create significant and meaningful systemic change for Black communities, and foster healing through community building. We will announce more details in coming weeks on our Facebook page, and launch our new website.