Set against the most prominent and iconic sports spectacle in the United States a series of protests have been called to draw attention to structural inequities in Minnesota.
“Black Visions Collective, CTUL, Inquilinxs Unidxs, the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, the Baker’s Union, MN350, Young People’s Action Coalition, $15 Now and other organizations are organizing a series of actions the week of the Super Bowl.”
During an interview with journalist David Zirin on the Edge of Sports Podcast Veronica Mendoza-Moore CO Director off CTUL explains:
“This is not about being anti-football, this is about being anti a corporate party that is really extracting from our communities and creating an environment of militarization and increasing the wealth at the top at the expense of folks on the bottom.”
The St Paul Federation of Teachers (SPFT) remain in tense contract negotiations that have gone on for nine months. They have authorized a strike vote for January 31.
St. Paul teachers have come to the bargaining table with an innovative effort to work with the district to solve financial troubles.
“SPFT began negotiations by asking the district to partner with us to seek new sources of revenue. Specifically, SPFT proposed negotiating with our large corporate neighbors and partnering to seek payment in lieu of taxes from large private colleges and hospitals. Breaking with tradition, the bargaining team shared this first proposal with the superintendent before the first negotiations session.“
In a report entitled, “Sacked: How Corporations on the Super Bowl Host Committee Left Minnesota’s Public Schools Underfunded and Under Attack,” the union argues that state revenue for schools has been decimated over a period of decades by the lobbying of companies prominent within the Super Bowl Host Committee. Lowered taxes on corporations and the wealthy along with the use of offshore tax havens limit their contributions to publicly funded institutions.
“Founding Sponsors of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee are holding a total of $16.5 billion in 170 tax haven subsidiaries, which allows them to avoid paying corporate income taxes in the United States. Ecolab alone holds $2.1 billion in 80 subsidiaries, in some of the most notorious tax havens, including the Bahamas, Channel Islands, and Luxembourg. The companies on the Super Bowl host committee avoided paying a total of over $300 million in Minnesota state income taxes over the last five years. United Health and US Bank alone avoid $25 million a year in Minnesota state income taxes.”
Reporting in The Intercept notes that in March 2017, St. Paul Public schools announced a $27 million budget deficit. Administrators cut staff and programs while having already cut art, music, nurses and librarians in prior financial crises.
The NFL has become a platform for social justice minded players to speak out against police brutality and system inequality. In describing his silent, take a knee protest, Colin Kaepernick explained:
As Kaepernick's 49er teammate Eric Reid further explained in a New York Times op-ed:
"After hours of careful consideration, and even a visit from Nate Boyer, a retired Green Beret and former N.F.L. player, we came to the conclusion that we should kneel, rather than sit, the next day during the anthem as a peaceful protest. We chose to kneel because it’s a respectful gesture. I remember thinking our posture was like a flag flown at half-mast to mark a tragedy.
It baffles me that our protest is still being misconstrued as disrespectful to the country, flag and military personnel. We chose it because it’s exactly the opposite. It has always been my understanding that the brave men and women who fought and died for our country did so to ensure that we could live in a fair and free society, which includes the right to speak out in protest."
The Pre-Game: Our Lives Over Their Games
When: Monday, January 29 from 6:00pm-8:00pm
Where: Xcel Energy Center, 199 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55102
Why: Join us to demand that NFL billionaires hear us during the first event of Super Bowl week.
Enough is Enough: Rally for Renters Rights
When: Wednesday, January 31 from 4:00pm-5:00pm
Where: Apartment Shop offices, 12 E. 25th St., Minneapolis, MN 55404
Who: Inquilinxs Unidxs (Tenants United for Justice)
Why: Tenants are standing up to demand better living conditions and protest gentrification.
Super Bowl Protest: Tackle Corporate Greed!
When: Friday, February 2 from 4:30pm-6:00pm
Where: Home Depot at the Quarry, 1520 New Brighton Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55413
Who: CTUL, Navigate MN
Why: CTUL and Navigate want Home Depot, which benefits from low-wage and immigrant workers and customers, to support a Responsible Contractor Policy and DACA.
Super Bowl Breakfast: Support $15 and Workers’ Rights!
When: Saturday, February 3 from 7:00am-9:00am
Where: Minneapolis Hilton, 1001 Marquette Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Why: The Super Bowl is hosted by the same corporations that tried to keep working families in poverty by fighting Sick Time and a $15 minimum wage. They’re organizing an elite Super Bowl breakfast; while they have their breakfast inside, we’ll host a people’s breakfast to honor workers who fight for living wages, their families and their communities.
Join Water Protectors to Stop U.S. Bank from Funding Pipelines
When: Saturday, February 3rd from 12:30pm-2:30pm
Where: U.S. Bank Headquarters, 800 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN
Who: MN350 and others
Why: Water Protectors from South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and beyond are coming to Minneapolis to demand that US Bank keep its promise to divest from oil and gas pipelines, including Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Taste of Justice
When: Saturday, February 3rd from 5:00pm-8:00pm
Where: St. Paul Regional Labor Federation, 353 West 7th St, St.Paul MN 55102
Who: BCTGM Local 22 (Baker’s Union)
Why: Franklin St. Bakery’s owner also runs the Taste of the NFL, a non-profit that organizes Super Bowl parties for the 1%. We’re holding a event for bakery workers who are organizing a union.
Super Bowl Anti-Racist and Anti-Corporate Coalition March
When: Sunday, February 4th from 3:00pm-6:00pm
Where: Peavey Park, 730 22nd Street East, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404
Who: Super Bowl Anti-Racist & Anti-Corporate Coalition (a different coalition from ours)
Why: The City will spend millions to beef up the police and clear the homeless out of downtown, in a shameful effort to whitewash Minneapolis and ignore real problems of injustice and exploitation.