Protesters march against Redskins name in Minneapolis – National World


MINNEAPOLIS — Demonstrators marched to the Metrodome on Thursday, demanding the Washington Redskins drop their mascot name or continue to face protests and legal challenges.

Carrying signs that read, “We Are Not Mascots” and “Redskin: A Dehumanizing Racial Slur,” about 700 protesters marched from the American Indian Movement national office about 20 blocks to the Dome, where the Vikings played Washington on Thursday night.

Among the demonstrators were Billy Mills, a Sioux Indian who won the 10,000-meter gold medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics; U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, who has led a contingent of congressional representatives who oppose the name, and Joey Browner, a former Minnesota Viking and Pro Bowl player.

The march and demonstration capped several days of public opposition. Clyde Bellecourt of Minneapolis, a founder of the American Indian Movement and a leader of the protest, told reporters on Wednesday that “The R-word is no different from the N-word.” He said, “We want the R-word completely erased from the memory of the NFL.”

Browner, who is of Polynesian, Cherokee, Seminole and Blackfeet Indian heritage, said that “Redskins” was a pejorative term of the American frontier when his ancestors were viewed as animals.

McCollum spoke Tuesday at a symposium on the mascot subject at the University of Minnesota. “It is offensive to Native American people, and it is offensive to many of us who are not Native Americans,” she said.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton also jumped into the controversy Thursday, saying the NFL team’s name is “racist” and “offensive.”

“I believe the name should be changed,” he said at a news conference. “It’s antiquated and offensive in our present context.”

Thursday’s demonstration recalled protests organized in Minneapolis in 1991, when the Minnesota Twins played the Atlanta Braves in the World Series, and in 1992, when Super Bowl XXVI was played at the Metrodome and featured Washington against the Buffalo Bills.

Those protests, like Thursday’s, were backed by the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media. It was previously headed by the late Vernon Bellecourt, Clyde’s brother and an AIM leader.

The use of “Redskins” is drawing greater political opposition. Six of 13 Minneapolis City Council members and all seven members of the St. Paul City Council announced this week that they signed letters urging the NFL and Washington to drop the name. The Washington, D.C., City Council came out against the name this week.

AIM attorney Larry Leventhal filed a petition on Wednesday with Jim Showalter, the state management and budget commissioner, asking him to seek authority from the state Supreme Court to block the use of the Redskins logo and name in the new Viking stadium when he sells construction bonds for the project. Showalter’s office said it was going to study the issue.

One of Thursday’s protesters, Ryan Schneider, 34, an Ojibwe from Shakopee, said, “The name is indefensible. It makes Native American kids ashamed of who they are.”

Protesters march against Redskins name in Minneapolis – National World.


Views – 146

black victim of hate crime faces murder trial for killing white supremacist in self-defense

A black transgender Minneapolis woman pleaded guilty to second degree manslaughter in the stabbing death of a local man, but her supporters maintain she was the actual victim in the case.

As the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting, 23-year-old CeCe McDonald is expected to be sentenced June 4 to three years and five months in prison for the death of Dean Schmitz, a white man.

McDonald was walking past a local bar on June 5, 2011 when an altercation between her and Schmitz, in addition to other patrons, erupted on the sidewalk outside. According to various reports, McDonald — who was transitioning at the time — said she pulled out a pair of scissors in an attempt to defend herself after the group hurled a glass at her face, and taunted her and her friends with both anti-gay and racist epithets, including “faggots,” “niggers” and “chicks with d*cks.”

Schmitz, who allegedly had a swastika tattoo and was between the ages of 41 and 47 according to varied reports, died at the scene from a stab wound to his chest.

Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon is among those to defend McDonald, saying she was targeted for her race and gender. “It appears that CeCe was the victim of a hate crime that involved many people but she was the only person held by the police,” Gordon wrote on his blog. “Here is another example transgender women of color being targeted for hate- and bias-related violence. It is unfortunate that in this case, as in so many, the hate crime itself appears to have been ignored.”

Melanie Williams, columnist for the Minnesota Daily, felt similarly. “[Schmitz’s] attack, therefore, was not just a random attack on one person’s body, but an attack on an entire race and entire gender,” she wrote. “An entire population of living, breathing, feeling people are hurting with McDonald, perhaps not physically but in the core of who they are.”

Though prosecuting attorney Mike Freeman has insisted that “gender, race, sexual orientation and class [were] not part of the decision-making process,” McDonald’s supporters have also drawn attention to the treatment she is said to have received from officers and other officials throughout the course of the investigation and trial. According to Support CeCe McDonald, a website created “in solidarity with trans people targetted [sic] by the prison industrial complex”:

CeCe was briefly taken to the hospital where she received 11 stitches in her cheek. Then, while she was still suffering both physically and mentally from this traumatic incident, she was left alone in a room for three hours and then interrogated, after which she was placed into solitary confinement. She spent the next several months in jail and had to wait almost two months between her initial doctors’ visit and a much-needed follow-up appointment.

During that time, her cheek swelled into an extremely painful, golfball-sized lump, making eating difficult and producing headaches and pressure on her left eye and ear. Ironically, the only gesture towards CeCe’s well-being that authorities made during her incarceration was to put her in solitary confinement “for her own protection” on two separate occasions, despite her stated desire to be housed alongside other prisoners.”

Views – 382