Thousands of protesters showed up at Cathedral Park on April 4 for the We are One: March for the Middle Class rally, organized by the AFL-CIO and partner organizations. Union workers and supporters marched from Cathedral Park to the Minnesota State Capital cheering, singing, and waving flags and signs on the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.
“We gotta stand up, we gotta fight,” said St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman in a speech before the march, “we gotta always remember it was labor that made this country strong, it was labor that made Minnesota great, it’s gonna be labor that’s gonna take us into the future.
Doug Peterson, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union, also spoke at the rally. We are standing on the shoulders of the people that came before us,” he said. “and we’re going to do things for the people that come after us. We’re going to have jobs we’re going to create wealth, and we’re going to be one together. Ladies and gentlemen there is a conscience and there is a consequence for voting against labor and farmers and we’re going to show them today. Let’s go!”
During the march, musicians played, people danced, and at the arrival at the capital a choir sang on the front steps, while everyone cheered and sang along.
Matt Little, former president of the Minnesota chapter of the NAACP, gave a speech after the marchers made their way to the Capital. “One of the things—one of the many things—that Martin Luther King left as his legacy is something that we seldom hear and that is he talked about us being together as one,” he said.
Pastor Grant Stevens, from ISAIAH, had a little bit of trouble with his microphone as he spoke, and someone came to fix it.
“Go IBEW!” cried someone from the crowd.
“Actually, I think he’s AFSCME!” someone else called.
“Pretty soon the electricians will be here!” Stevens said, and began naming all of the partner organizations that made the rally possible, including a number of unions and other nonprofits, such as the Sierra Club, Moveon.org and Jewish Community Action. He also said. “If we have to fight the battles for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, than we will. Because we are one and every single person matters!”