Progressive organizations in the Twin Cities are largely excited for Democrat Joe Biden to take office, but they are already pressuring him to move further to the left in the first 100 days of his presidency.
Members of more than a dozen groups gathered in front of the U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis on Tuesday to encourage people to turn out for an Inauguration Day protest Wednesday evening.
Tracy Molm of the Anti-War Committee and the Climate Justice Committee said that organizers have a responsibility to make sure Biden follows through on campaign promises and other issues he has not spoken publicly about.
"Demonstrators are calling for a people's agenda that immediately reverses Trump's terrible attacks on working people, immigrants and communities of color," Molm said during a news conference. "But we ask for more. … We ask that he (Biden) does better."
The groups demand community control over the police, an end to deportations and the separation of families at the border, a stop to the Muslim ban, climate action, a strengthened social safety net, economic relief for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and student loan relief, among other concerns.
The groups' Minnesota goals include dropping charges against people prosecuted last year during the George Floyd protests and the 600 people arrested on Interstate 94 on Nov. 4.
Zarlasht Niaz of the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee said they are pleased with Biden's planned immigration overhaul bill on day one of his administration.
"This is a great goal, we are feeling hopeful but we're not naive," Niaz said.
Niaz recalled a high rate of deportations during the Obama-Biden era, and she is hoping for a vast improvement under the Biden-Harris administration.
The incoming president was criticized for what some view as a relaxed response to climate change. Austin Dewey of the Climate Justice Committee said he is disappointed that Biden has not expressed an opinion on the Line 3 pipeline project in northern Minnesota.
"We are the ones who have to hold him accountable to real change," Dewey said.
Molm is hopeful for a large turnout given Wednesday's relatively warm weather forecast. In 2016, more than 1,000 people attended a similar protest, she said.
The protest is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday at 32nd Street and 21st Avenue in Minneapolis near South High School.
Zoë Jackson • 612-673-7112 Twitter: @zoemjack