4th precinct protesters focus on community after violence

Anna Kleven, Sports Editor

Thursday November 20th, 6:30 pm 

After the agitation of Thursday, protesters communed tonight outside the 4th precinct.

Supporters delivered hand warmers, mittens and hats for protesters as temperatures plummeted. So much food was delivered that Black Lives Matter tweeted asking people to stop because it was spoiling.

“Last night, even just walking up to the precinct I could just tell that there was a different vibe,” said senior Brigie Donovan who has been at the precinct every night. “They’re trying not to escalate it anymore.”

The police were posted behind gates blocking the protesters from entering the building Around 6:30 they assembled bright lights behind the gates. Officers ignored heckling from a few individuals. Apart from verbal taunting, there were few police-protester interactions. “I didn’t notice that [the police] were any here at first,” said senior Betty Mfalindungi.

She suspects the calm is due to the increased press presence. “The police tend to act up more once the media presence starts to tone down,” she observed.

Among the performers was Mayyadda Major, a twenty two year old musician from Minneapolis. Major held the crowd’s close attention as she sang an original piece about the beauty of black skin. Major’s music resonated with Mfalingundi. “It was a really powerful moment,” she said.

Speakers from Latino and Native communities expressed solidarity with the movement. Keith Ellison and Betsy Hodges made appearances later in the night. Protesters feel that Hodge has been unresponsive. “I hope that the mayor stops being dumb and starts caring about the people about her city,” said Donovan.

South students in attendance were struck by the sense of community. “What’s happening here is really beautiful,” said Mfalingundi. Donovan agreed. “Its really awesome to see how much the community has put into this….it’s really comforting.”

“It’s way overdue that we start paying attention to what’s happening,” said Mfalingundi. “Jamar Clark is just one representative of all of the things that the Northside has been through.”

Donovan recalled that a speaker echoed this idea, saying that the protest is “‘a space for the black people in the community to heal…if that means getting angry, if that means dancing and singing…we’re gonna do whatever it takes.” However, she notes that not everyone from the neighborhood views Black Lives Matter as the solution. “It’s important to think that just because I think its good…and that people from all over have come to support it, it doesn’t mean that that’s what..people from the Northside want.”

Southwest student Collin Robinson resides three blocks from the precinct and described the last few days as an “emotional rollercoaster.”

The first night of the protest Robinson was accompanied by the Southwest High School racial justice student group Dare to be Real, which he leads. Most of the students left but Robinson stayed and was one of the eight minors arrested Monday night for unlawful assemby on I-94 just South of Broadway. “I’ll never forget that night where we were all bonded arms, sixty of us, and sixty squad cars rolled up,” he said.

Donovan was maced of Wednesday night. Protesters were spread out around the fenced parking lot. “Nobody was throwing anything, spraying anything, shaking the fence…People were literally yelling peaceful protest,” she described.

According to Donovan, a  swarm of police on bicycles rammed into protesters. Her friend was knocked to the ground. “I’ve never felt those emotions before,” she said. “It’s very disheartening to see…There’s no reason for that to happen.”

Protesters intend to occupy the precinct until tapes of the incident are released.