On the hottest day of the year, Monica and I got weird check in on the Black Lives Matter movement today. The highlight? The creation of the Black Lives Matter Mural on Penn and Plymouth, right outside, and sponsoring by, the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum. People were sweating and masked but it was a celebration! A variation on the BLM street mural heading the US Capitol, in North Minneapolis artists have adopted a letter. You can see the work in progress and below I have matched letter with artists:
I was happy the announcements were public and that this was a community event. So much fun to see a positive event that helps promote and push the need for change in the Twin Cities when it comes to living and respecting the truth that Black Lives Matter. To effect change we need to keep up the pressure – sometimes that means a protest, sometimes that means with celebration both to reward the activists and provide opportunities for nonconfrontational socializing (with appropriate distance). Also it means voting!!
Earlier in the day I was reminded of the need to keep up the pressure. I did a quick walk around 38th and Chicago. The once bustling crossroads is pretty quiet. But people are there, remembering the corner where George Floyd was killed. The fist remains in the middle of the crossroad that used to be a main thorough fare for the neighborhood. I noticed a sign promoting mask wearing. There are photo ops, interactive art, food but maybe two dozen people there. I also saw some gang tagging, which isn’t too cryptic if I pick up on it.
It’s nice to think that the movement that ignited with George Floyd is celebrated a few miles over with the BLM Mural. Unfortunately, closer to that corner we passed a street art installation remembering Leneesha Columbus, a pregnant woman killed by her partner earlier this month, maybe two blocks away from the George Floyd Memorial. The baby survives the mother as do two older children. It’s a horrifically sad story and it’s just one of many killings in the area since Floyd’s death.
Without over-thinking it today, it’s a reminder that we need to keep up the pressure for change that impacts everyone but especially in the neighborhood that was the call to a mamma that was heard around the world. Here is where we need to know that Black Lives Matter and here is where we need ensure that everybody, every color knows, respects and lives that truth!