Murals of a movement – remembering George Floyd in Minneapolis

It’s the second weekend since Minneapolis Police killed George Floyd. Last weekend life in the Cities was frankly terrifying; there were peaceful protests during the day but protests turned riotous at night. It’s been a long week of National Guard and peaceful protests and signs of nefarious actions and people in the neighborhoods with gas cans in the alley, cars racing around  and curfews.

All four officers involved in the murder have been charged. A human rights suit has been brought against the Minneapolis Police Department. Curfews have ended and the world has opened up a little despite of COVID-19 worries. The protests continue. I attended three before lunch today. (There was a kids’ protest geared at little kids and hundreds showed up to Jimmy Lee Rec Center in St Paul!) But life is better.

People are serious, but not numbingly anxious. There’s an undercurrent of anger for what has happened and a growing recognition that this has been happening for centuries. But there’s also a glimmer of hope that we might see real change. The involvement and leadership of youth is inspirational. There is respect and appreciation for all ages. Today is a day to celebrate and so Monica and I sent the afternoon checking out murals throughout the Cities.

38th & Chicago
Monica lives around the corner; we have been here several times. In fact the video actually comes from yesterday morning when I was visiting to distribute posters. As we walked up we heard someone say – this is like a free carnival. I have mixed feelings. I like to think that it’s a celebration of life and an optimism that systems are lining up to change. I think we will need to keep up the pressure to encourage change but there is optimism and lots of protests planned!

 

Special Mention on 37th and Park – the graveyard of lost community members #SayTheirNamesCemetery. Such a strong visual from a distance with details up close. A modem take on a potential (or lost potential) labyrinth.

Northside
We saw a lot of free markets in North Minneapolis where people could get food, toiletries, lunch – you name it, they could get it. It’s an area that could use support every weekend – maybe this is the start of something although it would be nice to see more integration of volunteers and recipients of services. Free isn’t sustainable – we need systemic change.

Uptown
I had not been to Uptown Minneapolis since the rioting. It’s so weird to see our changed community. It’s hard to know what’s hurting us more – the pandemic or the violence. But it feels good to know that art can help at least with the violence and in changing attitudes. (I was thrilled to see work from one of my faves Yuya Negishi.)

Seward Coop
Seward is notoriously community-focused and the murals are just a part of that.

Lakes Street, Minneapolis & Midway, St Paul
I visited Midway on my may to the Health Care Heroes Hour of Silence for Black Lives at the Capitol. Then We drove down Lake Street. Geogrpahically, they have very different. But I think both areas are still reeling from the devistation – both were hit hard. We saw some are – but I expect we will see more in the future.

I have spent many a vacation or day off – touring the murals of Winnipeg, Belfast, Dublin, Berlin, Washignton DC and even St Paul. and Minneapolis. This was different becuase the art was new and raw.

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