'Protect Black Women' march in St. Paul demands justice for victims of police violence

Richard Reeve
Updated: October 10, 2020 10:50 PM
Created: October 10, 2020 10:31 PM

Their voices echoed past the Governor’s Mansion on Saturday along Summit Avenue in St. Paul. 

“Whose streets? Our streets!” they chanted. 

“Black women matter — Black lives matter!” 

“Say her name — Breonna Taylor!”

The concerns were many: police accountability, the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police officers and domestic violence against women of color. 

“We’re peacefully protesting,” organizer Sirius Marie said. “So we’re showing that we can demonstrate in number peacefully. That we want justice.” 

Dozens took to the streets in a vocal, diverse protest.

“People need to come together,” said Isis Atallah with the group Minnesota Youth for Justice. “Support and protect Black women. Black women are constantly bullied about how they look.” 

Many here voiced concerns about the Kentucky grand jury investigation into Taylor’s death. 

"The fact that her name wasn't listed in the indictment,” Marie said. 

Weeks ago, there were widespread protests, including at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, after the grand jury’s decision to not charge three Louisville police officers in Taylor’s death. 

Taylor, a Black woman who was unarmed, was shot and killed in her apartment during a March drug raid. 

Authorities say Taylor’s boyfriend shot and wounded one of the officers, all of whom returned fire. 

The warrant was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were ever found. 

"The officer was only charged with wanton endangerment,” Marie says. “That’s a misstep. That's not justice for Breonna Taylor because she was a victim." 

Just this week, police arrested 51 people, primarily on misdemeanor charges, on a quiet night after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was charged in George Floyd’s death, was released on bond

"In the beginning, there were a lot of people who are frustrated,” Marie said. “They are angry, in my opinion, they have a right to be."

But organizers say things have changed since the riots that followed Floyd’s death. 

They emphasize this protest is peaceful, and hopeful — even as the marchers are trying to raise awareness, and make change.  

"We have organized people to come and speak to raise awareness for different issues,” Marie says. “Different people, different things like that. It's something we must be able to have as a community." 

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