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Thousands 'sit-in to breathe' at the State Capitol

“It makes my heart so happy to know that so many different people are coming together because we all know it’s the right thing to do.”

ST PAUL, Minn. — In a scene that hearkened back to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, thousands of people filled the State Capitol grounds Tuesday for a peaceful sit-in protest.

About 3,000 people joined the “Sit to Breathe” event, which was organized by students to protest the policing of black communities in the state and country.

“It makes my heart so happy to know that so many different people are coming together because we all know it’s the right thing to do,” said Katherine Cannon of Minneapolis.

The event featured spoken word presentations, dancing, speeches and a moment of silence. It’s one of dozens of demonstrations throughout the Twin Cities, state and country, since George Floyd died on Memorial Day while under the knee of a former Minneapolis police officer.

“This has happened one too many times,” said Emmy Cawah, adding she found hope in the large gathering on Tuesday: “This is a way bigger crowd than was here on Sunday, and it’s really nice to see.”

Although student-led, the crowd included people of all ages, races and faiths. And that, too, became a point of pride and power to those attending the event.

“No matter what color, what creed, it doesn’t matter. We’re all human beings at the end of the day. Something like this should just be unacceptable,” said Amen-Pierre Sessou of St. Paul.

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Sessou smiled when he looked around him at the event that rivaled those of past generations: “This is it, right here. I don’t need to say more than that.”

And then he offered his hope for the generations to come: “You should be able to have children and know that they should be safe out in the world, no matter where they go… You can hear the power, and you can hear the emotion in these people’s voices. And we’re going to get something done. That’s for sure.”

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