Sunday morning, June 7th, Tom and I drove to south Minneapolis to the George Floyd memorial area in front of Cup Foods. As we entered 38th and Chicago, it was quiet and respectful. As members of the community were busy arranging flowers and picking up trash, I realized that this very place had changed. It was no longer a busy intersection of people and cars going through life; picking up groceries, getting fuel for their cars, or picking up food from a local restaurant. It was now a memorial, not just for George Floyd but also for many Black and Brown people.
Sunday, June 14th, Tom and I went to south Minneapolis with my sisters. This time, as we walked to 38th and Chicago, my sister noticed a sign entitled 'A Guide for White Allies in Black Spaces of Mourning'. It discussed the significance of the space, reviewed what a person would see, and encouraged those visiting the area to engage in the various events taking place at 38th and Chicago. For me, the most significant words were those telling me what I could do when I left the area to impact change.
Those words helped answer my question of “What are things I should do in my life to help make a change?” So here are suggestions from the sign:
· Commit to being Anti-Racist
· Begin working to educate your family
· Consistently analyze your thoughts, ways of engagement and the power you have as a white person
· Decentralize your feelings and prioritize the thoughts, stories, and leadership of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) folks
· Work to create systemic change
As we continue to reflect on the death of George Floyd and the events that followed, I pray you find these suggestions helpful.