This article originally appeared on One Minnesota Writer on June 3, 2020, in response to the murder of George Floyd and subsequent protests in Minneapolis and elsewhere.
What a week it’s been not just here in the Minneapolis area, but everywhere. In the middle of a pandemic, the virus of racism has wreaked havoc in so many communities. Perhaps I should say continued to wreak havoc, since it is the systemic presence of racist behaviors that has pushed the United States in particular to this place. Violence is not an ideal way to address the issue and, yet, violence is used by all sides at times as a way to control this narrative. Peaceful demonstrators get pushed over their limits when confronted with semi trucks that drive into their midst or journalists who get arrested for trying to tell the truth or the smoldering remains of a small family-owned business in a diverse community. Our own president incites more violence with his authoritarian hardline dialogue, posturing with his chest puffed up, any deeper insight completely missing.
The path forward is complex. There are so many threads to untangle, so many places where privilege and fear are in control. If you are living in an area that has been visibly unscathed by this latest firestorm, you might consider yourself lucky. Or you might ask yourself, why not here? Or, even, when will it be our turn to confront ourselves? Because we are all affected by policies that favor one group over another by holding back those whose opportunities are diminished from the moment they’re conceived.
What is so damn fearful about sharing what we have? About seeing the person beside us as an ally rather than a foe? Sharing resources, healthcare, housing? What is so damn fearful about eliminating great gaps in wealth? That competition might turn into cooperation? That someone might have a little less money so someone else can live?
Oh, there it is. Competition, the backbone of capitalism, is what we were taught to respect. Turns out, it may not be the thing that is required for a just society. But cooperation? With a side dish of respect for our fellow human beings? That could reconfigure everything.
WANT TO HELP?
In the Minneapolis/St. Paul area:
We Love Lake Street – The Lake Street Council, a nonprofit, is taking donations to help rebuild the many, many small businesses in this diverse community who were damaged or destroyed in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. Information HERE.
Hamline Midway Coalition – a neighborhood-based organization in the hard-hit Midway area of St. Paul that supports the community, both residents and businesses. Information HERE.
Hunger Solutions Minnesota – works with local food shelves for families in need. The destroyed areas of the cities are now food deserts, so need is high. Information HERE.
Other Twin Cities area donation opportunities are available HERE, courtesy of KARE 11 News.
Long list of places all over the country where donations are welcomed in support of everyone out demonstrating in support of Black Lives Matter is up at papermag.com. Information HERE. And a similar list is available at The Cut HERE.
To get to work on eliminating hatred across the board, the Southern Poverty Law Center has information HERE.
Do good. Be kind. Stay safe.