MINNEAPOLIS -- A coalition of at least 17 grassroots activist groups will stage a rally and march in downtown Super Bowl Sunday, to raise the issue of racial inequities in Minnesota.
The protest organizers have joined under the banner "The Super Bowl Anti-Racist Anti-Corporation Coalition, or SAAC. Leaders of the effort stood in front of US Bank Stadium Thursday afternoon in bone-chilling cold to brief the media.
Daphne Brown of the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar said the rally will begin at Peavey Plaza at 3:00 p.m. February 4, about two and a half hours before kickoff. They will then march toward the stadium, although a security perimeter will likely keep them some distance away from the venue.
"We support Colin Kaepernick, Michael Bennett, Marshawn Lynch and many athletes from the NFL to local high schools who use their voices to demand justice," Brown remarked.
The Minneapolis Police Department issued a statement saying officers on the scene that day won't interfere with peaceful demonstrations.
"The Minneapolis Police Department has a long history of respecting people’s 1st Amendment rights while balancing the needs for public safety," a statement from MPD read.
"Any response to demonstrations will be done to ensure these priorities remain consistent."
Organizers say they're protesting "racist police brutality and the sell-out of our city to greedy NFL owners and corporate sponsors."
This demonstration will join with others previously panned, including one by the Take a Knee movement.
"We’ve seen athletes actually using their platform to speak out against injustices in society and we’re joining them in that," Jess Sundin of Justice 4 Jamar told reporters. "And, in particular in Minneapolis, we’re seeing an effort to whitewash the problems in our community."
She noted that several streets and transit lines will be closed for the Super Bowl and related events, creating disruptions that will affect lower income persons lives that protesters.
"And yet we have been arrested, brutalized and demonized when we’ve blocked traffic for a few hours, to march for Jamar Clark and others."
The organizers downplayed the possibility that anarchists and more violent groups from other cities could come to the Twin Cities and hijack their peaceful protests.
"We're more concerned about the fans from out of town," Susan DeLeon, an immigration attorney and community activist, replied.
"They’re the ones who are going to be paying for the kind of 'entertainment' that is exploiting of women, and women of color. And they are the ones that are going get treated very well by the police, while we get treated really bad."