Alliance Statement on Murder of George Floyd
George Floyd mural (in progress) by Alliance staff, Ricardo Perez, & WSCO organizer, Sebastian Rivera
Last week, we witnessed a brazen and cruel example of Minneapolis police officers violently enacting the white-centering concept of public safety that pathologizes Black bodies in public space and dehumanizes people of color to the point of callously extinguishing life. This was not an isolated act but a devastating representation of who is — and is not — seen as belonging in the circle of care we intentionally create through the policies and planning that shape our experiences and define our opportunities in Minneapolis and across the region.
In recent days, generations of trauma, anger, and heartbreak flooded our streets with protests and chants demanding #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd, to defund the Minneapolis Police Department, and affirming #BlackLivesMatter. While we condemn the presence of explicit white supremacists in our communities, we reject the narrative that outside agitators are the sole or predominant source of unrest. We know that the criminal charges filed against the police officers involved are essential in holding law enforcement accountable but still represent a response that is embedded in the same systems of white supremacy that killed George Floyd. In Minneapolis and across the Twin Cities, we must reckon with and begin to dismantle the interlocking systems of oppression that suffocate and subdue the brilliance of our Black communities.
An essential starting point to regional equity is that people of color have the fundamental human right to feel safe, to simply breathe, in public space without being systematically and unjustly targeted by the institutions that so readily protect white comfort and wealth. We grieve with the family of George Floyd and the countless residents who have been traumatized by our criminal justice system since its very inception, and, in our work with community-based organizations, we remain vigilant in centering the power and vision of immigrant and BIPOC communities in what is still to come. Hundreds of BIPOC-owned businesses have burned and communities of color and indigenous people have been hit hardest by disruptions to transit and access to daily necessities. As we move through this historic moment for Minneapolis and the nation, it is imperative that we stay rooted in the full context of what constitutes “safety,” including new systems of housing and economic development, that center community power and ownership.
We must tear down all the pillars of white supremacy and create communities where George Floyd would not just be alive, but thriving and contributing his unique potential to a city that cared for him and all Black lives.
– Joo Hee Pomplun, Maura Brown, Owen Duckworth, Tram Hoang, Ricardo Perez, Carolyn Szczepanski [Alliance staff]