Comment heard February 27, 2017 as the organizers led those gathered at Peavy Plaza on to 12th Ave in Downtown Minneapolis, to march through Downtown for Fight for $15 — United Against Trump.
“You have to understand — this march is intersectional,” said the organizer on the truck , before inviting Black trans activist Andrea Jenkins – candidate for city council in the (my) 8th ward — up on the truck to speak. Jenkins named seven trans women killed since January 1 2017 and talked about how trans people need health care, livable wages and dignity — like everyone else.
Our issues are intricately connected.
Then the sister of Chad Robertson, the 25 year old Minneapolis man shot by amtrak police while in Chicago, gave us a searing rendition of what happened to her brother. She concluded, “This is my first time speaking. It will not be my last.”
The organizer then led us in a chant of MY FIGHT IS YOUR FIGHT.
What seemed to the Star Tribune reporter as an “array of causes” were — the demonstration leader explained — all the same cause. As we marched into rush hour traffic sidelining suburban commuter buses, we chanted the names of people killed by cops, pledged our solidarity with water protectors, immigrants and refugees, poor and working people. The crowd was mostly young. People of Color were well represented. I did see a white man I have not seen for three decades — back when he was a meat packer organizing with P9 in Austin Minnesota. There were Latino families — multiple generations, African American and African immigrant youth, Native activists.
An indigenous women held a sign that read, NO BANS ON STOLEN LANDS.
We marched to the Chamber of Commerce office and stood in the street listening to speakers explain the how MN legislators were trying to passing pre- emption a dirty legislative trick to would allow State representatives to nullify local labor ordinances like the Paid Sick leave , passed after a concerted mass campaign — this past May. Preemption would also make it impossible for the city to pass a $15 minimum wage.
As we marched on, the music coming from the turck made this woman of a certain age feel a lot of ways.
Hopeful.“We gonna be alright”
Enlightened. “Look, Reagan sold coke, Obama sold hope. Donald Trump spent his trust fund money on the vote.
Inspired. “It wouldn’t be the USA without Mexicans, And if it’s time to team up, shit, let’s begin.”
Twisted. This White child of the sixties and seventies who grew up in the South and the North is insanely uncomfortable marching on a downtown street to the N word sung full blast to an irresistible beat.
United. “Fuck Donald Trump!”
We paused at Panera Bread and heard testimony from a former employee who never made more than $20 in a day–explaining why the fight for 15 must not punish tipped employees.
By the time the march stopped at Wells Fargo — banker for the Dakota Access Pipeline — I had to go. I had walked downtown from South Mpls and I was cold and exhausted. My I-phone health status said 6.5 miles. It didn’t mention the boots , the heavy back pack, the advancing age. So I missed the stop at the county jail, but I was still there in spirit.
Your fight is my fight.
As we marched President Trump announced his budget would include a $56 billion increase in defense spending. Some Reps in Congress complained it wasn’t enough. Please correct my math if necessary. I believe thats $1million for every homeless veteran in the United States?! What else could we do with 56 Billion?
The weapons we need to stop this insanity: a multitude of tactics from a a multitude of communities, joining feet and heads and hearts. Thank goodness most of these people ($15Now, NOC, CTUL, CAIR, Native Lives Matter, Navigate MN Young Muslim Collective, Black Lives Matter) have been organizing for years. Thank goodness they are working together.
Time to Team up. Shit, let’s begin.