Two days of pouring rain filled the National Mall lawn around last week’s Take Back the Capitol’s tent city with mud, but did not dampen the enthusiasm of a one-hundred person Minnesota delegation that travelled by bus to fight for a “99%” agenda—jobs, fair taxes on the wealthiest, and a democracy free from the grips of big money.
The sun came out on the final day of our journey for justice, a day in which the New York Times shined the light on the courageous stand one of Minnesota’s delegation took at Speaker John Boehner’s office. Watch the New York Times video here.
Earlier in the week, delegations of 10 – 20 Minnesotans sat down in the Congressional offices of Minnesota Representatives who have not supported a jobs bill or fair taxes and refused to leave until their Representatives talked to them.
Reps. Kline and Cravaack eventually met with the Minnesota delegations, while just off the floor of the House of Representatives, Paulsen spoke with one member of the Minnesotan delegation, Jennifer Carpenter, a laid-off education professional.
She pressed him to take action to help the unemployed. “We need jobs in Minnesota,” Carpenter said. “They need to vote on extending unemployment benefits. Nobody’s getting a job tomorrow.”
Another delegation waited in Rep. Michele Bachmann’s temporary office in the basement of the Longworth building before learning that she was not in DC, but they were able to meet just down the hall with Rep.Keith Ellison, who expressed his enthusiastic support for the 99% agenda.
Two Minnesota delegation members participated in a viral moment in Illinois Representative Joe Walsh’s office.
“We filmed him running away from us. There was a story in the Huffington Post and the YouTube title is ‘Joe Walsh flees 99%.’ I was a marshal in the march to K Street, and there aren’t words to describe how psyched and empowered I feel,” said Kimberly Martini.
On Wednesday, we played key leadership roles in a march by thousands on K Street—the center of Washington DC corporate lobbying—that garnered extensive national media attention. Organizers from TakeAction Minnesota, SEIU, UFCW 1189, MFE, CTUL, and Occupy Minnesota served as marshals and chant leaders.
Marchers from across the country carried banners designed by Minnesota’s Rogue Citizens Art Collective—artists who also created the giant “99% Street” banner that blocked off K Street as activists from OccupyDC, members of the clergy, and unemployed workers were arrested in a non-violent act of civil disobedience designed to focus attention on the country’s economic emergency.
“It was amazing seeing all of the support from the people in their offices watching our march to K Street and dancing to our drumbeat. Our message is getting through. It is a special moment to be here standing up for justice and the 99%. Getting the word put about corporate power and the suppression of others has been very powerful for me,” said Yankuba Fadera.
“The march on K Street was an eye-opener: Being with all those people in the K Street march to make change, I had tears in my eyes. This is all new to me but I don’t want us to return to Minnesota satisfied, I want to do what I can contribute to keep this going,” said Jermaine Rayford.
Another Rogue Citizen 99% banner was at the center of Thursday’s march and action, when it was raised on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building. One hundred unemployed Americans sought a meeting with Speaker Boehner–who refused to talk to us. Jennifer lingered on at his doorstep; the New York Times listened to her.
The Star Tribune (on Sunday and Tuesday), City Pages (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday),MPR, the Rochester Post Bulletin, WCCO Radio, KARE 11, and the Minnesota News Network all covered the work of Minnesota’s 99% delegation.
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