Fear and Hope

I started crying upon hearing the senseless violence in death of George Floyd. I then started crying for the looting victims and all the people who can’t get prescriptions and food. I cried for all those going to bed in fear for their lives. I had some sleepless nights as I was fearful. Then I started focusing on the good. The people helping cleaning up and donating food and money. I watched a concert by the local Minneapolis Steele Family and one of the lead singers broke down during a song. She was unable to sing due to the overwhelming grief and I cried again.

From the mnpost website “On the night of July 19, 1967, racial tension in North Minneapolis erupted along Plymouth Avenue in a series of acts of arson, assaults, and vandalism. The violence, which lasted for three nights, is often linked with other race-related demonstrations in cities across the nation during 1967’s “long hot summer.”

My parents took me to the Aquatennial torchlight parade. Some reports say an incident there sparked the violence. I remember rushing crowds and then I was separated from my parents. A large black man, not touching me at all, put his arms around me like a shield and locked his hands together in front of me. He stood unmovable in all the jostling and I was in a circle of safety until my parent made their way back to me. I don’t remember talking to my parents about the event, not a lot of parents talked to there kids about social issues back then.

Over 150 race riots erupted over the summer of 1967 and for the first time in my life I saw my parents were afraid. The Kerner report was commissioned to study the reason for the rioting. The report blamed federal and state governments for failed housing, education and social-service policies. It aimed sharp criticism at the media. “The press has too long basked in a white world looking out of it, if at all, with white men’s eyes and white perspective.” The report’s most famous passage warned, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.”

I’m saddened in all these years so little has changed. I joined an allies of St. Louis Park group. I went to a few meetings then the leader moved away and my involvement diminished as I focused on the house. The groups mission is this – I hereby pledge to be an ally and defender of all groups and individuals who may feel threatened and who are threatened. This includes women, LGBTQ, immigrant, refugee, Muslim, Jewish, people of color, survivors of sexual abuse or assault, and people with disabilities. I will do more to show that I am on your side.

I have not done enough. St. Louis Park is where George Floyd lived. I like it here because I feel it is an inclusive city. I do have a voice and intend to use it to to do more. I’ve started researching ways to help rebuild and reform systems. I know the church I attend has resources and ways to help. In all the craziness that is going on in the world right now, there is one thing I heard that gives me the most comfort. Our hope must be greater than our fear.