The Minnesota Nurses Association represents 22,000 Registered Nurses from diverse backgrounds, including those from Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. We are Midwesterners, immigrants, native-born Americans, and Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color and veterans of our armed forces. MNA embraces and supports all of our members.
The staging of the Minnesota National Guard at the St. Paul Labor Center occurred without the approval or discussion amongst the unions that own the building regarding the Guard’s request to utilize the building. MNA, like many unions, has a position against the militarization of police and the use of military force against protestors. The property itself is owned by a group of Minnesota unions, including MNA. Upon hearing that the Guard were staging out of the Labor Center, members from a number of these unions, including one member of MNA’s Board of Directors, independently arrived to determine who had authorized permission for the National Guard staging to take place.
A difficult and serious conversation should then have occurred about why the National Guard staging was taking place at the Labor Center and whether it should be allowed. However, we became aware from an online video posted by the MNA Board member, the actions that took place appeared to be a disrespectful mocking of our fellow Minnesotans in uniform. MNA acknowledges the sacrifices made by men and women in uniform and their families. We believe they should be treated with respect, and we are grateful for their service.
MNA also acknowledges the pain and trauma being experienced by the BIPOC community. MNA believes people have the right to protest and participate in causes they believe in, and nurses stand unwaveringly in support of the BIPOC community, including their rights to peaceably assemble. MNA expresses its sympathies to the victims and families of systemic racism, and MNA regrets the actions of an individual member leader that evidently brought embarrassment, anger, or frustration to those National Guard members.