On justice and Mike Freeman’s decision

For me, the issue is justice, and justice was not served by Mike Freeman’s decision. Other articulate people chose words very well: “Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” In saying this, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds me about the role of power (at its best). In Mr. Freeman’s decision, we had the power, but in service of an abusive and oppressive system. Mahatma Gandhi had this to say: “There is a higher court than courts of justice, and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts.” Conscience says that killing an unarmed person is wrong—period! Continue Reading

toxic stress

“I’m ready to die” Jamar Clark, school violence and toxic stress

What does it say when, within a minute of the police arriving, a young black man speaks those words? And when, within 61 seconds, that young black man lies dead? What does it say when teachers who are worried about their (and their students’) safety are labeled racist? What does it say when the vast majority of our children who grow up in worlds of “toxic stress” are low-income students and students of color? It says a lot about us, about our disregard for our children, particularly the most vulnerable. Continue Reading

fourth precinct minneapolis

Best of Neighborhood News 12/3: Homicide aftermath: Co-victims need help too

Photo by Chris Juhn
Homicide aftermath: Co-victims need help too
According to this week’s Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, attention after a homicide tends to be directed almost exclusively to the victim and the perpetrator. Dr. Deirdre Golden argues in this article that we should think of the children and adult community members in our cities who see these acts of violence and feel the effects for the years to come. The press and media can be very intrusive during this period of great sadness and loss. The constant media coverage can serve to re-victimize the survivors, because they re-live the horror over and over. When there is an attempt to look for facts that devalue the worthiness of the murder victim, such as their criminal record, this can further traumatize the family. Continue Reading

A young girl marches with protesters in downtown Minneapolis on Nov. 24

When do we #SayHerName? Examining the systems behind the death of Jamar Clark

As protesters aligned with Black Lives Matter-Minneapolis (BLM-Minneapolis) took to the streets over the past few weeks, the now-familiar message was clear: Clark did not deserve to meet his untimely death on a North Minneapolis sidewalk by a bullet in his head. His death, another tally in a string of fatal encounters between unarmed black men and law enforcement agencies across the country, was another notch in the need to address the issue of discriminatory police practices and for reform. The formulaic response to yet another police killing also meant a backlash against the narrative of who the real victim was in this fatal encounter. Continue Reading

4th precinct

Minneapolis lacks political will to provide security for all

Sunday marked the killing of yet another unarmed Black man, Jamar Clark, at the hands of the police. This time it happened right here in Minneapolis, a city becoming increasingly divided along racial lines due to some of the nation’s largest racial gaps in employment, income, housing, education, and arrests, which has created significantly polarized realities between privileged whites and persecuted people of color. Such racial dynamics are indicative of an old master/slave relationship, making current conditions perfect for an enormous racial clash. That is, unless our elected officials can find the political will to provide relief to its suffering communities of color and prevent our city from going to hell. Over the past few months leaders from Minneapolis’ Black and Brown communities, in partnership with labor, have been developing a platform of policies that would address the city’s economic apartheid. Continue Reading

Jamar Clark

Best of Neighborhood News 11/19: Protesters stand ground in North Minneapolis for Jamar Clark

Protesters stand ground in North Minneapolis
Charles Hallman from the Spokesman-Recorder provides for us an excellent slide show capturing the protest efforts of NAACP and Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, as well as a thorough breakdown of the community’s perspective on the events leading up to Jamar Clark’s death. Here’s a brief excerpt, a quote from one of the protesters interviewed at the scene:
“We are fed up,” said Williams. If this had happened to a young White male in Minnetonka, there would be no questions and the community would not be out like this. There is a real sickness in our police department here in Minneapolis. We don’t want to sit at the table and have another conversation or another dialogue. We want real action.”
Check out the full story and many great photos here. Continue Reading