Protesters demand reconsideration of St. Louis Park Pledge of Allegiance vote

A spirited crowd packed the St. Louis Park City Council Chambers Monday night to demand the council reconsider a recent vote to reduce recital of the Pledge of Allegiance before meetings.

Mayor Jake Spano and Councilor Thom Miller were absent during the vote.

“I would not have voted to get rid of the Pledge of Allegiance,” said Mayor Jake Spano, who was absent from the controversial vote. “I think that there are more important things that we need to be focusing our time and attention on.”

The measure was voted on without formal public input from St. Louis Park residents.

“If we had that conversation, we might have been able to hear from our community about how they felt about this action,” Spano added.

“I’m appalled that our little suburban community meeting protocols has sparked this polarizing conversation in our community on what it means to be patriotic,” said Councilor Anne Mavity, who proposed the measure.

“There are lots of people who haven’t been nice about this and our city staff have been on the front lines, so I just want to apologize to them because it certainly wasn’t our intention,” Mavity said.

Ahead of Monday’s session, a peaceful protest took place outside of City Hall.

“At the end of the pledge, it does say, ‘justice for all’ and that does mean all,” said Mark Himmer, who opposed the change.

“I’m a diverse and a newer resident to St. Louis Park, and I felt the decision was anything but inclusive,” said Jennifer Carnahan, the Minnesota GOP Chairperson.

Carnahan’s sentiment was shared by those who joined her inside. They forced the council to reconsider the pledge and its place.

“We clearly fumbled by not anticipating the desire of our city of St. Louis Park residents to be in conversation about this,” Mavity said. “I want to make sure we get it right this time.”

The City Council says it will hold further study sessions on the topic later this month. From there, it will make a decision one way or the other, or decided to hear formal public feedback before moving forward. 

Tuesday morning President Donald Trump commented on the issue via Twitter saying, "Outrage is growing in the Great State of Minnesota where our Patriots are now having to fight for the right to say the Pledge of Allegiance. I will be fighting with you!"