In the past 24 hours, police have arrested 69 protesters outside the Governor’s Mansion.
People have been standing, sitting, singing, dancing, praying and sleeping outside the Governor’s Mansion since July 6, when Philando Castile was fatally shot by a cop during a traffic stop.
We have stood outside the Governor’s Mansion, asking Governor Dayton to show his leadership. We have stood, black, white, Asian, straight, gay, trans, able-bodied and disabled, old and young, asking for justice for a 32-year-old Minnesotan whose last moments have been seared into our state and national history, our collective memory.
When we stood on Interstate 94, blocking traffic, disrupting ordinary life, many Minnesotans, including some of my family and friends, complained, saying freeways are no place for protests.
When we stood outside the governor’s mansion, some Minnesotans, including some of the Governor’s neighbors, complained, saying the Governor’s Mansion is no place for protests. One neighbor told a reporter protesters should go to the state Capitol. The Legislature is not in session now, and the state Capitol is under major renovations until 2017.
For those who say we should look to the courts for justice, I say look at what’s happened in Baltimore today: all remaining charges dropped against police in the death of Freddie Gray, who died a week after his spine was broken in a police van.
Justice didn’t happen in Baltimore, Ferguson, Cleveland, and North Charleston. Will it happen here?
On Sunday, standing outside the Governor’s Mansion, I felt hope. I saw longtime neighbors, families with kids blowing bubbles, millennials playing guitar, artists at work, clergy walking amid the crowd. People brought food and water. Someone brought a basket of kittens. So many of us, standing together, doing what we can to make sure that Philando Castile gets the justice that was denied to Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland and others.
In the past 24 hours, the police have arrested at least 69 people outside the Governor’s Mansion. Where can we stand for justice?