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name is Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel and in December 2014 I joined fellow
clergy to encircle in prayer a group of peaceful, courageous
#BlackLivesMatter protesters at the Mall of America. It was one of the
most sacred moments of my life.
And yet, in response to faithful witness, the
Mall of America and City of Bloomington reacted with a militarized
police force – hundreds of police wearing bullet-proof vests, riot
helmets, and carrying weapons. Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson then used her great power against those who hold far less power – pressing criminal charges against 36 of the organizers and participants.
I started a petition to stand with the Mall of America 36 (#MOA36) to demand that the charges be dropped. Will you add your name to this faithful demand?
We’ll be delivering our petition to the City of Bloomington Attorney Sandra Johnson on Labor Day weekend.
timing is critical. On August 5th, in response to a defense motion and
sustained community support, the most serious of the charges were
dropped. But there remain offenses which still require costly legal fees
to fight. We demand that City Attorney Sandra Johnson drop ALL the
charges against the #MOA36.
peaceful ritual was a witness for justice – a demonstration of Dr.
King’s vision of the 'beloved community' – but the Mall of America and
the City of Bloomington responded with police in military and riot gear
and legal charges.
As people of faith of all races, let us proclaim that Black Lives Matter and stand with the courageous #MOA36. Link to the petition here.
Please join me in signing our petition demanding charges be dropped against the faithful protesters.
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel
Pastor and Director of The Center for Sustainable Justice, Minneapolis, MN
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