The wedding of A’lexis Hamblin and Celina Berndt, held in front of the charred building this weekend on the anniversary of Stonewall, is a symbol, too -- of the better future we're working to build together.
Hamblin and Berndt met on Tinder, bonded over a shared love of My Favorite Murder, and dated for about a year before they got engaged this Valentine's Day.
"We were obsessed with each other as soon as we met," Hamblin says.
The two were out protesting together early last month, right after George Floyd was murdered. They knew people were being injured by police and winding up hospitalized, getting arrested for peacefully protesting because they were technically breaking curfew.
So the couple -- who originally planned to wait a few years to get married -- decided instead that the time was now.
"After seeing the police arresting, macing, tear gassing, and shooting projectiles at protesters, I knew we had to do something to prepare and protect ourselves," says Hamblin, who doesn't have any legal family in Minnesota. Getting married now, quickly, made them both feel safer more comfortable while they were protesting.
Hamblin says the planning was all "ridiculously last minute." They had about two weeks to throw this thing together and were only able to pull it off thanks to their friends, who found a photographer and videographer and planned a full-on reception after the ceremony.
One of those friends was Nadirah McGill, drummer for (CP favorite) Gully Boys, who was the couple's officiant.
"Just 30 days ago, we stood here and watched the Third Precinct go up in flames -- a different but similar proclamation of love," McGill said in their speech. "Both of these revolutionary acts are celebrated today, in the queerest, most last minute, beautiful, and radical joining of A’lexis Hamblin and Celina Berndt in marriage in front of the BURNT DOWN THIRD PRECINCT!"
"The best way I can describe how I feel would be to say, I feel whole. I married the queer love of my life on the anniversary of Stonewall at the burnt-down Third Precinct," Hamblin says. "It was such a wholesome feeling having everyone together to celebrate Black queer love and liberation. It felt like we were all healing together after such a traumatic month."
Media coverage of the protests may have slowed down, but the newlyweds are out there almost every day, fighting police brutality and systemic racism. Hamblin's been using social media (@actualangel) to share resources and educational tools and encourage donations to continue providing mutual aid to Minneapolis.
Berndt says that to exchange their vows on the anniversary of Stonewall, and in the midst of the uprising in Minneapolis, was both an honor and "a beautiful energy to send into our lives together."
"I think Celina and I -- along with our friends, family, and community -- needed something to celebrate," Hamblin says. "The wedding was a form of activism."