Saint Paul, MINN. – Tuesday evening, several lawmakers in the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus in the Minnesota House released a joint statement responding to the inclusion of language that would criminalize non-violent protest in Minnesota communities in the Republican Public Safety omnibus bill (HF 2856):
“Nothing is more foundational to our democracy than the right to peacefully protest and exercise our freedom of speech; this Republican Public Safety bill is clearly an effort to silence our voices at a time when people are speaking out against injustice in record numbers."
"Minnesotans have a right to protest when they feel that lawmakers are not taking meaningful action to address the state of affairs that leads to the killing of men and women of color and Indigenous during interactions with police, and for many of the other issues faced by neighbors in our communities."
"This proposal doesn’t address the primary problems that Minnesotans are protesting about in any helpful way, it simply makes criminals out of more Minnesotans of color who are seeking to exercise their constitutional rights. This bill won’t end protests. Republicans will compound historic maltreatment to communities of color with the passage of this bill.”
The People of Color & Indigenous (POCI) Caucus formed in 2017 and includes Reps. Mary Kunesh-Podein (41B), Jamie Becker-Finn (42B), Peggy Flanagan (46A), Erin Maye Quade (57A), Fue Lee (59A), Ilhan Omar (60B), Susan Allen (62B), Rena Moran (65A), and Carlos Mariani (65B).