MINNEAPOLIS, Minn – Minneapolis City Hall served as a pulpit Tuesday as clergy members and leaders in the Twin Cities faith community camped out in the rotunda to support Black Lives Matter protesters.
The day-long protest began with chanting and song in the morning. It ended outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where pastors, priests, rabbis and imams came together preach a message of non-violence and justice.
"Faith informs us and calls us from different walks and backgrounds, different dogmas and creeds, calls us to stand us to stand and fight for justice when we see it, so when the faith community mobilizes around these efforts it is really amazing, showing us the power of solidarity and people in this movement," said Danny Givens, Jr, a St. Paul pastor.
In the morning, the crowd inside Minneapolis City Hall hung a sign reading "Release the Tapes." They asked city leaders to directly prosecute the officers involved in the Jamar Clark shooting instead of using a grand jury indictment. They also asked that police continue to allow protesters to safely continue outside the Fourth Precinct.
"I was a young activist once and I remember the incredibly harsh criticism we received when we made people feel uncomfortable. I remember we stopped a war. And I remember we got a civil rights act passed that has yet to be enforced. And I know what it means to have the faith community stand in solidarity with those who are pushing us forward, and we have to be pushed," said Rob Eller-Issacs, a pastor at Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul.
Governor Dayton, emerging from a press conference on the groundbreaking of the new North Minneapolis WorkForce Center, said he hopes protesters move on from the encampment.
"I asked they do move out of there so people can regain the community, their homes, better protect public safety in that area. I just hope those still occupying it will see they served their purpose, and it's time to move forward and move ahead together," said Governor Dayton.
After the rally with clergy ended, many went back to the Fourth Precinct to continue, declaring that no one will set an expiration date on the Jamar Clark protest. Many used the new hashtag #taleof2cities to emphasize racial disparities in the Twin Cities.
"I don't know how many times the faith community has to be awakened, once again we were awakened to see the injustice that was served, with another black young man dying. The role that we can play is to really get to know the laws and change the laws that does not benefit our sons and daughters," said Carmen Means, pastor at The Movement Church in Minneapolis, who spent her day in the Minneapolis City Hall rotunda.