In the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 15, hundreds of protesters gathered outside of the Government Center in downtown Minneapolis.
Protesters chanted “No Nazis, No KKK, No Racist USA,” an outcry towards the deadly violence in Charlottesville, VA during a white nationalist rally responding to a decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee. A 32-year-old woman was killed after being hit by a car that crashed into a crowd, while dozens others were injured.
The organizers of this rally were largely youth groups, namely Young People’s Action Coalition and Youthlink Outreach. “The signs, the shirts, the rallying; it all means nothing if we don’t put action behind it,” said a Youthlink speaker.
Young artists read poetry expressing their frustrations towards experiencing life as a marginalized member of society.
“We will not be the submissive puppets of your oppression,” said one young person who goes by Jelly.
A young man named Cherokee rallied the crowd in preparation of marching.
“I believe that we will win!” he said.
The mass of peaceful protesters took to the streets of downtown Minneapolis, moving down S. 5th St and up Hennepin Ave., their destination being Loring Park. The erupting sounds of motorcycle engines spurred along their cause, and the large assembly was also police escorted, delaying vehicular traffic as well as stalling the Light Rail downtown. The usual Friday evening flow of traffic was stalled and rerouted, blocking some drivers and causing frustrations among commuters.
Still, in the beginning of the rally, the organizers stated that their protest was peaceful, and it remained so throughout, with Minneapolis police escorting the large group through downtown Minneapolis. One woman was blocked by the protesters as she took a turn down Hennepin Ave. during the demonstration. The crowd eventually allowed her to pass.
People from all walks of life marched together under the same cause: stop the alt-right and bring awareness to the injustices marginalized citizens are subjected to here in the United States.
The events of Charlottesville were not the only instances the protesters mourned and rallied for; names like Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner and more were spoken prior to the marching. The majority-comprising youth all spoke of equity and justice among women, people of color and members of the LGBT+ community.
“The people make the change, and the people bring awareness. By you being here and by people standing up and saying what’s right is how things are actually going to get done, and how we can dismantle the system to figure out what we really need to do to fix it,” said 16-year old Cherokee, a member of the Young People’s Action Coalition.