MINNEAPOLIS – On Tuesday, November 24, an estimated 2000 protesters marched in Minneapolis demanding justice for Jamar Clark, the 24-year-old African man murdered by Minneapolis police on November 15.
The march, which had been planned several days earlier, came one day after blatant white nationalists shot five African men one block from the Minneapolis police 4th precinct headquarters, where protesters have waged a 24/7 occupation since the night of Jamar Clark’s murder, despite increasingly frigid weather and police harassment.
Witnesses to Monday night’s shootings report that police and ambulance response took 20 minutes, that police taunted protesters saying “isn’t this what you wanted?” and then maced the crowd.
Many speculate the police were either directly behind the attack or were aware it would happen and allowed it to occur. (See one witness account: https://www.rawstory.com/2015/11/minnesota-naacp-leader-shocks-cnn-police-are-behind-the-black-lives-matter-shooting/)
Tuesday’s march, organized by Black Lives Matter Minneapolis and the Black Liberation Project, started with a rally outside the 4th police precinct. The mood was defiant in the face of the previous night’s terror. Africans were in the lead as the march took off and mobilized the whole crowd with dynamic chants and hip-hop playing from the lead truck.
Marchers traveled 2.5 miles to city hall where organizers and members of the community spoke, demanding direct prosecution of the police. One community leader spoke of the need to eject police from the black community – how in their entire history police have only hurt the black community, never helped or protected it.
This expression of ejecting the police from the African community can concretely be realized with the “demand” of Black Community Control of the Police. That is the anti-colonial demand that our community must galvanize around, otherwise we continue to demonstrate against police murders which will not stop unless we control who in our community carry weapons.
An Iraqi-born Muslim gave a powerful statement expressing solidarity with the black community saying “we hurt with you, we have your back, we are with you forever.”
Following the speeches outside city hall, marchers returned to the 4th precinct for a pre-planned concert.
Other protests took place across the city Tuesday including student walkouts at the University of Minnesota as well as at Southwest and Washburn high schools. Southwest students staged a “die in” at 50th & France Ave S., an affluent shopping district.
Organizers say the occupation outside the 4th precinct police station will continue despite Monday night’s shootings, ongoing threats by blatant white nationalists on social media and the Minneapolis city council president Barb Johnson calling for protests to end.
Minneapolis one of worst places for African people to live
The mass resistance in Minneapolis is part of the growing resistance by African people across this country that was sparked by the courageous and relentless response by Africans in Ferguson, Missouri to the police murder of Mike Brown in 2014. And it is part of the “Uneasy Equilibrium” described by APSP Chairman Omali Yeshitela, of colonized people around the world rising up to challenge and overturn imperialism, resisting their oppression and taking back their resources.
The murder of Jamar Clark underscores the reality that African people living in Minneapolis, just like those living anywhere else in the world, face colonial terror on a daily basis.
Year after year Minneapolis makes headlines for its supposed livability, compared to other urban centers. In fact it is one of the worst places for African people to live.
A special report conducted by the website 24/7 Wall Street (http://247wallst.com/special-report/2015/10/06/the-worst-cities-for-black-americans/5/) ranked Minneapolis / St. Paul as the 3rd worst place for black people to live, showing that:
- 35% of Africans live below the poverty line
- Median income of black households is only 37.9% of what white households earn.
Black unemployment is at 12.8%, compared to 3.9% overall.
A study by WalletHub (http://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-highest-and-lowest-financial-gaps-by-race/9842/) exposed that statewide, Minnesota has the biggest gap between black and white wealth of all the states.
MN has the greatest black to white disparity in imprisonment rates according to the Council on Crime and Justice (http://www.crimeandjustice.org/councilinfo.cfm?pID=72).
- When it comes to police terror in the African community, a 2013 story in the Star Tribune reported that out of 439 official complaints filed against police, none resulted in disciplinary action. (http://www.startribune.com/no-minneapolis-cops-have-been-disciplined-after-439-complaints/221422101/)
What will bring meaningful change to Minneapolis?
The march and ongoing occupation in Minneapolis demonstrates that African people in this city demand change and that many white people support that demand.
But what will it take to bring meaningful change?
Minneapolis needs a dose of the Black is Back Coalition’s demand for Black Community Control of the Police and the understanding that black power is what truly matters to ensure the security of African people.
The city could also use a dose of African Internationalism to more clearly identify the problem as colonialism and to show the vision and plan for African self-determination, economic self-sufficiency and the African nation’s struggle for unification, liberation and the power to govern. African Internationalism also gives white people an opportunity to show genuine solidarity as members of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement that works under the leadership of the African working class-led movement, for reparations from the white community and corporations.
Justice for Jamar Clark!
Black Community Control of the Police!
Forward to the African People's Socialist Party 2016 Plenary!
January 9-10 in St. Petersburg, FL. More info and registration at apspplenary.org. Forward to the African People’s Solidarity Committee 2016 Plenary – January 11 in St. Petersburg as well – uhurusolidarity.org.