The summer of 2020 will likely be remembered as one of heartbreak and frustration. The effects of COVID-19 will be felt for years to come and our community exists on a tightrope balancing between caution and cabin fever. This should be a time of patience and kindness, love and compassion. Instead, the senseless and inexcusable murder of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers shines an undeniable spotlight on the pervasive undercurrent of bigotry in our society.
To arrogantly assume that our thoughts or opinions convey a sense of understanding of what systemic bigotry and racism feels like would be ridiculous. Literally anything we write as middle class, white, bloggers will come from an unaffected perspective. What can we add to this conversation that is actually helpful? Out of the shock and sadness that we feel for our community, the hesitation to make tone deaf statements, bring politics into our blog, or at the very worst, unintentionally hurt someone, we have stayed silent. Making peanut gallery comments on social media or posting memes seems less than productive. We do, however, feel like now is a time when silence is louder than words, and as lines get drawn in the sand we want no confusion about which side we are on.
We support the protesters and those whose voices and frustrations have been ignored for far too long. We are outraged by any aggression directed toward peaceful protesters. They march because systemic racism, sexism, and bigotry pervades our society. Change is far too slow and our community deserves better. They surround police stations and government buildings, they march on the freeway, they kneel at football games, they refuse to move to the back of the bus. This is the very definition of civil disobedience. I am humbled by their bravery. (I say “they” because I have yet to personally participate. Logan has taken his turn. I suspect my turn is close at hand. It would be disgusting to claim that I am part of this fight when I have done nothing so far but nod my head in agreement. But make no mistake, I am on board. I am an ally.)
We love Minneapolis and St. Paul and support our community of all people. During the last week, the nights have raged with both justified anger and shameful opportunism. But every morning, neighbors of all races and creeds came together to clean, rebuild, and support one another. The community pride, resiliency, and generosity has been a thing of beauty and is enough to restore one’s faith in humanity. There are far more instances of support than those of violence. Please take those fear-mongering news stories with a grain of salt.
We support the majority of police officers who protect and serve their community with honor, and we condemn those whose unforgivable aggression and abuse makes them a disgrace to the badge, as well as those who shelter the crimes of their colleagues. We are elated that the four officers responsible have been charged and hope that justice will be served. We hope this may be the beginning of a long overdo turning of the tides to a system of accountability and to end the institutionalized protection of the corrupt. No more will systemic racism and police brutality be swept under the rug.
Today was George Floyd’s memorial service and thus it seemed a fitting time to break our silence and proclaim our love for the people of these cities. ALL the people.
Logan and I acknowledge our privilege, and every day we strive to listen and be better informed. We try to be better allies, community members, and stewards of our planet. Our hearts and positive vibes go out to the family of George Floyd (and those who preceded him), the honorable police officers and first responders who are protecting and serving the community as well as the protesters with respect and kindness, and finally, to the people of Minneapolis and St. Paul. We will come out of this stronger and better than ever.