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Black Minnesotans use MLK day to raise support for reparations

Rep. John Thompson speaks at a reparations lunch at the Indigenous Cultural Center on MLK, Jr. Day (Elijah Todd-Walden/BLCK Press)

Trahern Crews, a founder of Black Lives Matter Minnesota, hosted a lunch talk on reparations to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. day.

Amid the food and music, Crews led a discussion on how Black people continue to fight against the oppression the state of Minnesota foists upon them.

“Minnesota has the third-biggest racial wealth gap in the country,” Crews said. “But Minnesota also has the biggest surplus in the country [at] $20 billion. For us, we think the best way to spend that money is to use it by paying reparations to the American descendants of chattel slavery that reside in Minnesota.”

St. Paul City Council member Jane Prince was present, and spoke on how the talk around reparations was not a new discussion, and how the country needs to take responsibility for chattel slavery.

“Cities are laboratories for good ideas, and we should pass the St. Paul Recovery Act reparations ordinance and show the rest of the country what reparations could look like, starting here,” Council member Prince said.

St. Paul City Council member Jane Prince speaks at a reparations lunch at the Indigenous Cultural Center on MLK, Jr. Day (Elijah Todd-Walden/BLCK Press)

Reparations was a major talking point at the lunch, but Crews was adamant that reformation of the justice system was equally important. He brought Toshira Garraway from Families supporting Families and Monique Cullars-Doty, the aunt of Marcus Golden, who was killed by St. Paul police in 2015, to speak on reformation.`1

“When Marcus got killed, the first thing the Holy Spirit said to me was there’s going to be change because of Marcus,” Cullars-Doty said. “Now, there is change. This case has set a precedent.”

The city of St. Paul is expected to vote on a $1.3 million settlement on the death of Marcus Golden on Wednesday. Golden’s family was present at the lunch, and Crews said that one of the reasons for the lunch was to lift up the family.

Among the speakers was Anika Bowie, who came in second place in the 2019 elections to represent Ward 1. While speaking, she announced her second campaign to run for office.

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