Behind the camera at the MOA XMAS protest 2014



Photographer Anna Min, of Min Enterprises Photography LLC shares her footage and talks about shooting the Mall of America Black Lives Matter Protest last Christmas season. Video edited by Sheila Regan.

Anna Min, of Min Enterprises Photography, LLC., went to the Mall of America for the pre-Christmas Black Lives Matter rally at MOA as a documentarian. Though trapped in the rotunda Starbucks with her fiancee and partner, Tina Cho for most of the main gathering, Anna still managed to capture the incredible footage that you’ll see here.

You can hear Anna relay thoughts throughout the video. In addition, here’s what Anna had to say about the experience:

“I go to a lot of rallies–some say these are all protests–because that’s where people are finding community. I see people walk up, hug each other, catch up after far too long and gather around something that’s purposeful and meaningful to their lives. People sing and dance together to reclaim the joy, abundance, and love they are being deprived of. Really, there’s no malevolence present.

So, compared to South Minneapolis rallies where police have asked us for copies of them in action protecting folks from trucks and stuff–MOA was the height of frighteningly tense. Media weren’t even supposed to be on the ground floor that day–so I went in explicitly concerned with keeping people safe and accountable. Imagine still! Despite growing up poor in Cedar Riverside I never expected to witness full riot gear, gas masks, hundreds of zip-cuffs and an explicit divide-and-conquer strategy … deployed against peaceful people … so close to home.

I feel like this video will really make people think a little harder–there’s so much more than what you’ll see on TV. We have to care because things are unfair and hurting everyone.

Plus, people would have spent the day shopping. I’ll even confess–as someone who avoided MOA as much as possible–I came totally underprepared, got hungry, and bought us two crepes. Now I wish I hadn’t–imagine how much stores could have made if three thousand extra people were made welcome instead? Why do business backward?

It doesn’t need to go down like this. We could be not talking about this video right now. The attendees and the accused could all have been lauded as economic boosters. Really–we bought Chipotle last-minute after covering last night’s Gold Medal rally. Do you think a venue like Honey would allow an angry, malicious bunch to pay cover to enjoy a show there? What I’m trying to point out is: MPD didn’t order Chipotle or HONEY to lock the doors for their own safety, did they? That was a great (non-) call!

Basically, I think the only reason it happened the way it did was because the Mall of America made it clear the gathering was unwelcome and people thought that wasn’t right. That’s also not the Minnesota I know or want for the future.

It’s interesting to also consider who the Mall’s main audience is. Most times it’s not a local market. You hear about people going to the mall from all around the world. It makes me a little sad that we’re giving them the impression that Minnesota is an unwelcoming place.”