Young Peoples Action Coalition (YPAC) organized a march for Friday evening that started at the Government Plaza in downtown Minneapolis and ran along Hennepin Avenue to Loring Park. The event included a live band, spoken word poetry, chanting, and marching. There were multiple speakers and the event was primarily organized and attended by high school students. South High and Southwest were among the student bodies represented.
Police escorted the march along the light rail tracks onto Hennepin Avenue, where it eventually turned onto Lasalle and ended at a stage in Loring Park. At the intersection of Hennepin Avenue and 5th Street, a busy hub for Metro Transit, multiple bystanders could be heard talking and screaming into their phones about their buses being late due. Many pedestrians asked if Black Lives Matter were the organizers but there was no direct involvement from the group.
The rally went without a hitch and there were no reports of violence during the anti-racism protest. The Facebook event page explicitly stated that it was to be non-violent. Cars lined up heavily trying to get onto a blocked Hennepin Avenue during Friday evening’s rush hour. 600 people marked themselves as going to the rally, though the turnout didn’t appear to quite reach that number.
Twin Cities General Defense Committee was credited with security detail for the rally. As the march continued down Hennepin Avenue, one woman pulled out of a parking ramp and protested being forced off the street by the oncoming crowd. She was met by motorcyclists, bicyclists, and people leading the march that pushed her back into parking ramp entrance until the passed a couple minutes later.
Jahkeyrie Mantesena (right, blue shirt and yellow vest) who has been with YPAC since its inception told the Civic Observer, “Im very serious about the movement cause for me it’s not just a movement, it’s my life, this is what I live every day. I’m not here because I’m an activist, I’m here because this is what I live, day to day to day. ” Mantesena is a senior at Southwest High school and was one of the leading speakers during the march.
Alexander Clark (middle, in black), cousin of Jamar Clark, spoke multiple times. When he spoke at Loring Park, he accused Black Lives Matter of stealing money meant for the family of Jamar Clark. Clark also talked about some of the in-fighting within the group and received an apparent confused reaction from the majority of the crowd, who met most of what he said with silence. The group eventually took a moment of silence and then played music and danced to end the rally.