Remember when Minneapolis blew up? George Floyd was murdered, we all watched it, and then Minneapolis blew up. And the world blew up for a moment, too. Just a moment, though. We thought that moment was long enough. A lot happened in that moment. People went out into the streets. BLM signs went in windows. Laws got proposed. Corporations made promises. A new president got elected. George Floyd’s murderer was convicted. As I write this, Juneteenth has been made into a national holiday and it is as though that moment will last forever!
Of course, it won’t. It didn’t actually last that long in the first place. Maybe not even a moment after people went out into the streets, they went back inside. The BLM signs came down. The proposed laws got voted down. Corporations broke their promises. The new president wants to give the police more money than the last one did.
Meanwhile, major corporations Like Target and Apple are giving their employees a day off for Juneteenth. Of course, only 15% of Target’s workforce is Black. And only 9% of Apple’s workforce is Black, unless you’re only counting leadership positions, in which case it’s 3%. Just before I wrote this I scrolled passed a NYT Cooking-sponsored twitter ad for “A selection of 46 recipes to celebrate Juneteenth.” Coincidentally, Black employees make up just 9% of the New York Times as well. Its percentage of Black leaders is up 1% from 2015.
And as for Minneapolis? It’s still blowing up.
On June 3, Winston Smith, Jr. was killed by police in Minneapolis. The police claimed he had a gun, though the woman he was with never saw one. The police claim to have found a gun at the scene, but if the police could be trusted, an exhaustive list of reporting on police planting evidence, drugs and guns on people wouldn’t exist. And, of course, George Floyd would still be alive. Naturally, this could all be cleared up by looking at the police body cams, but unfortunately these police are prohibited from wearing them.
Earlier that very same day, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was ordering the forced clearing of George Floyd Square, the semi-autonomous zone created by activists. If that wasn’t bad enough, according to several members of the Minneapolis city council, Frey used his COVID emergency powers to pay a Black citizens’ group $359,000 for the forced clearing.
Ten days later, during a protest for Winston Smith in Minneapolis, a man deliberately drove a car into a group of demonstrators, killing Deona Knajdek, a 31-year-old mother of two.
The Minnesota National Guard is on standby as I write this and wonder just how frequently the exact same tragedies can be repeated in this country.
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