May 29, 2020
Greetings from Minneapolis, Minnesota where summer has blissfully descended upon us and….. wait, WTF?!?!
Minnesota not-so-nice is suddenly on full display and I struggle to find words to fully describe what is happening here and how we are feeling about the murder of George Floyd. Undeniable, straight-up, homicide and yet the killer and his accomplices remain uncharged and at large. “Sickened” and “horrified” come to mind. What the hell were these cops thinking?! How could they possibly have thought what they were doing was okay?! As our mayor, Jacob Frey, said, if it were him or me who had been filmed with our knees on the neck of a man who died we would be behind bars. Why are there still no charges?
The subsequent rioting is now taking our attention away from the murder of yet another unarmed, subdued, black man. What is happening is horrible. It is unfortunate that the story has become the reaction to the murder. The story is now about the rioting, the destruction of small businesses and “their community.” It is really hard to watch the fires and the looting and to make sense of what is going on.
And here is where I will propose that perspective is everything. I am a privileged white woman; safe, with a home, food and my own security net. I am horrified by the murder, sickened every time I see the footage and hear Mr. Floyd calling for his mama. My heart breaks. I do wish that the protests had remained peaceful. But I also wonder: what have peaceful protests done to change the narrative? People of color are still seen as "less than" by many. Many lack food security, home security, job security, health security, protection from their local law enforcement, respect, opportunity and equality. Peacefully talking has garnered promises to do better and commissions to look into solutions. A part of me understands how we have gotten here.
Interestingly, who knew there could be anything that would push the horrors of the coronavirus pandemic from the front page of our newspapers and from the top spot of our news reports? Minnesota is poised to top 1,000 deaths by this weekend; a small number for more populated states, perhaps, but pretty significant for us. Masks are actually being handed out to protestors who do not come wearing their own. Also worth noting: many of the cracks and fissures that have been exposed in our society by the virus are the same as those being amplified by this senseless murder.
Bottom line: riots or no riots, these cops murdered George Floyd and should be behind bars. My heart is heavy. I wish I could leave you with something enlightening or uplifting but I’ve got nothing.
Be safe everyone.
Stephi Tikalsky/Minneapolis, MN