Hundreds of mostly young people rally at the Capitol in support of a bill that strengthens Minnesota's anti-bullying laws in schools. More than 11 percent of Minnesota students report they are bullied weekly, says the bill's chief author, Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis).
Advocates for social justice made waves at the State Capitol on Thursday, pushing to end racial disparities in school suspensions and to address the problem of homelessness in Minnesota. The day of social activism began with a coalition of African-American and religious leaders calling for an end to school suspensions and police officers in schools; later, advocates for the homeless asked the legislature to pass a $100 million bonding bill to prevent homelessness.
In the morning, civil rights leaders and social justice activists from the faith community gathered at the State Office Building to call for a moratorium on school suspensions and a separation of the criminal justice system with the education system by removing police officers from schools. Organized by ISAIAH, a non-profit coalition of 100 congregations from various faith traditions working on social justice issues, the press conference was in response to numbers provided by the Minnesota Department of Education revealing that 60 percent of the almost 50,000 Minnesota students who were suspended in 2011-2012 were children of color, though students of color only make up 30 percent of the school population.
“We are in the midst of a crisis,” said Rev. Paul Slack, President of ISAIAH. “We need to unchain our children. We need to release them and stop criminalizing them and hold them up as the sacred people, the children of God as they are.” (more…)
About sixty students from St. Paul's Central High School walked out of their classes Wednesday (Feb. 26) as a statement against the "school-to-prison pipeline." The students joined more than 100 protesters -- many of them college students and other community members -- who gathered outside the school before marching to the nearby St. Paul Reformation Lutheran Church for a program-cum-protest.
Hundreds of people carried signs and wore "Raise the Wage" T-shirts in the State Capitol, dancing while Brother Ali sang and established a tone of jubilant expectation for a rally calling on Legislators to raise Minnesota's minimum wage.