ANOTHER death by police

On this past Memorial Day, May 25, 2020, George Floyd was thrown to the ground during an arrest on Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, two dozen miles from my home. He had gone into Cup Foods on the corner to buy some things, using what the store clerk believed was a counterfeit $20 bill. Did George even know it was a bogus bill? We can’t know because instead of conversation, the lead officer on that team of 4 police officers subdued him with his knee on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

Passers by shouted, screamed, and begged the officers to get off his neck as George cried out “I can’t breathe” and called for his mother. A 17 year old on her way back home down the street had the presence of mind and the courage to video the entire scene. And then the strength to put that video onto the internet and it flew around the world.

George died under that restraint while the officer looked unmoved and even amused by the outcry the bystanders were creating around him. He knelt there while George died with his hand in his pants pocket, as if this was just a walk in the park. He has been charged with 2nd degree murder, and his fellow officers arrested and charged with aiding and abetting murder and other lesser crimes. The investigation and trial preparations continue by our state Attorney General.

George was a black man in a city and state that has always prided itself on being Nice and Progressive and Diverse. At least, for the white citizens of Minnesota. I am among those white citizens who, until now, may have known things were occasionally hard for our fellow citizens of color, but had little personal experience with the way police treat BIPOC people as if they are criminals and dangers to our way of life.

As our city and state exploded in peaceful protests and bitter and violent burning and looting, the world erupted in shock, shame, and revolt. Wave after wave of pent up despair caught the energies of many who filled the streets, airwaves and internet with stories, anger and hope for a finally awoken white populace to SEE the white skin supremacy that undergirds nearly everything and every institution in America.

People have been shaken and thrust into a new image of our state and country. White people are racing to catch up to the witness of black and brown persons who have lived this fear and racism all their lives. Not every white citizen, of course. But many, many more who have stood passively alongside before and who are now engaging, reading, marching, talking, writing, giving, and listening to try to understand and change.

I have been and remain committed to better understanding the white supremacy of our culture and how it has shaped me, my decisions and assumptions, and future vision of the world. May millions of us use the brutal lynching of George Floyd on a corner of Minneapolis one holiday evening during a pandemic and the presidency of Donald Trump to listen, to repent, and to work to change the world.

May George be the very last in the innumerable line of lynchings of black Americans. May his name be the last on the list of black men and women killed by our peace officers. May this nation pull itself toward equity and peace. And may all our leaders, including our highest office, once again reflect justice for all.

#lynching #GeorgeFloyd #blacklivesmatter #vote2020