Thursday, July 2, 2020

#184 / Minneapolis, MN

Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota

A global pandemic and a police murder of a Black man in Minneapolis, Minnesota, George Floyd, has upset all our routines. We have been shaken out of patterns that we might have told ourselves were "normal," but that were not actually "normal" at all. Or certainly not "tolerable." Certainly not "acceptable." What we considered "normal" has been disrupted, and we should not, now, be searching for some way to restore things to the way they were before the murder of George Floyd, and before a novel coronavirus stripped naked and showed us the fundamental instability and inadequacy of our society and economy.

Instead of seeking to return to a "normal that never was," let us take seriously the words of Sonya Renee Taylor, as seen below. Her admonition is printed in very "big letters," intended, no doubt, to help us see her message. This gigantic mural is an accurate statement of the challenge we must meet. Issues of racial injustice, economic inequality, health care insecurity, a global pandemic, and the global warming crisis that puts both the Natural World and our own human civilization in peril, demand that we must "stitch a new garment" in which to dress ourselves both individually and collectively.

What Tayor tells us we have to do is a "tall order." As I said in my blog posting on June 30, 2020, "I don't think that there is any clear path." There are no easy answers. To confront the multiple challenges before us, we must "start taking steps now, halting, difficult, sometimes mistaken, unproved steps, untried - we must take every step we can think of."

I was immensely pleased to see that Minneapolis, Minnesota is, in fact, "trying" to make the kind of fundamental changes that are necessary. City officials are talking about "dismantling" the City's police force. In the meantime, the ordinary citizens of Minneapolis are "trying" some things on their own. They are experimenting. They are trying to act directly, as citizens, not waiting for government bureaucrats and elected officials to tell them what to do. Direct citizen action is a laboratory of democracy, and is an antidote to despair.

The New York Times reports that "A Minneapolis Neighborhood Vowed to Check Its Privilege." Blocks from where George Floyd drew his last breaths, residents have vowed to avoid the police to protect people of color.

This story is worth reading. A local neighborhood has determined, as a neighborhood, that no one in the neighborhood will call in the police to deal with community problems:

After the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police, Ms. Albers, who is white, and many of her progressive neighbors have vowed to avoid calling law enforcement into their community. Doing so, they believed, would add to the pain that black residents of Minneapolis were feeling and could put them in danger.

This policy is proving difficult to maintain, but what is encouraging is that concerned neighbors are deciding, for themselves, some things that they can "try" to do, to deal with a police crisis that is all too apparent in Minneapolis. 

Wherever we live, we need to get ready to start experimenting, too. 

When there is no "normal" to which we can return, we need to do something "new." 

In Minneapolis, at least some neighorhoods have received this message, and are acting accordingly!

Image Credits:
(1) -
(2) - (Post on May 3, 2020)

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