BY JAVIER ARAVENA
ST. CLOUD, Minnesota - "The people united, will never be defeated!" was one of the chants heard as a crowd of mostly students marched around the St. Cloud University campus. The October 28 evening march and rally was called to protest the beating of an openly gay student. The beating occurred on October 19, following a vigil to protest the murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay student in Laramie, Wyoming.
"There have been verbal attacks on people here for a while", said Sarah Johnston, 20. Her friend Jess Johnson added, "This is the first time I have seen a rally here this size." Over 500 people participated in the march and rally.
"This is an amazing turnout! It sends a direct signal that people won't stand for this kind of hatred," Heather Sammons, 24, said. Tiffany Miller added, "We want the community to become aware of this and to speak out, or events like last Monday [October 19] will reoccur. It is not enough to vote, you also have to come out and protest."
Thomas Fiske, the Socialist Workers candidate for governor of Minnesota, was campaigning at a nearby campus in St. Cloud when he heard about the rally. Fiske and three campaign supporters immediately drove to St. Cloud State University to participate in the rally.
Javier Aravena is a member of Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union Local 6-418.
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