Minneapolis, Minn — In regards to the police response to the peaceful Black Lives Matter Minneapolis #Justice4Jamar actions in North Minneapolis, the SEIU Minnesota State Council released the following statement:
“Many SEIU members and staff have been spending time at the 4th Precinct over the last few days in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Minneapolis protesters who are fighting for justice in Minneapolis. This situation, and particularly the actions taken by the police on Wednesday, made it clear that there is an incredibly troubling imbalance in power in Minneapolis. Until that fact changes, we will continue to be in the streets for peaceful protests with our sisters and brothers from Black Lives Matter Minneapolis.
“SEIU members endorsed and were some of the strongest supporters in getting Mayor Hodges elected, in no small part because of her commitment to closing our city’s awful racial inequalities. For that commitment to have a chance of becoming a reality, Mayor Hodges must engage directly to deescalate the current situation brought on by the police and reengage in productive dialogue with Black Lives Matter Minneapolis to solve not only this situation, but the gnawing racial divides tormenting our city. We believe this moment is an essential test of whether our city moves forward as one, or the cracks of inequality and injustice split wide open. We need leadership of the Mayor more than ever, and we look to support the Mayor in taking immediate action to support those calling for justice.
“We are especially concerned about Chief Harteau’s decision to escalate on a peaceful protest starting Wednesday afternoon. Not only did this not help resolve the situation, it made matters worse and has increased tension and division in our community. If her goal was to open the police station, it has backfired. If her goal was to end the peaceful protest of those exercising their first amendment rights, the opposite has happened. Her decision to crack down on peaceful protesters not only inflames this situation, but it moves us further away from finding real solutions to the problems plaguing our community. These uncalled-for actions only reiterate the feeling among many that their voices are silenced and their concerns are not legitimate. Chief Harteau can and must use this situation to radically rethink her strategy of policing people of color in Minneapolis, especially in North Minneapolis.
“We commend the young people of color who are leading Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, both in this action and in their overall work, so our city finally can have the conversation we need to be having about race and inequality. We urge our city leaders to hear their voices.”
SEIU is the workers who provide care and support for your family in public schools, hospitals, higher education, nursing homes, schools, in your homes and the Twin Cities’ largest public and private buildings. The SEIU Minnesota State Council coordinates the electoral, legislative and outreach work of the SEIU Locals in Minnesota to increase the effectiveness of their collective bargaining and new member organizing campaigns. By building the political involvement of the approximately 60,000 SEIU members throughout the state, the State Council is working to improve the lives of all Minnesotans. The State Council’s board is comprised of elected leaders, members, and staff of the four SEIU Local Unions in Minnesota.