Photo by NANCY M. MUSINGUZI
It has been nearly two months since Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis Police Department choked George Floyd to death. The video of Floyd’s murder captured the attention of the world and awakened the city, where protesters overtook the 3rd Precinct police station and set it on fire. Minneapolis’ reaction caught many people off guard. There’s nothing that can come out of Minnesota but mildly entertaining accents and white people, right? There sure as hell aren’t Black people up there. So for those outside of the city, there was no expectation that crowds, motivated by years of built-up rage, would mobilize en masse and set a police station ablaze.
These aren’t just my observations. Those who have lived in Minneapolis or the greater Twin Cities can also tell you that Minneapolis is perceived to be a white, liberal haven—when people think of it at all. But the Black people there know what’s up. Aisha Mohamed, a student organizer, told me that after Floyd’s death, “Minneapolis has had to confront its ugliness. Minneapolis is either the gold star for liberals or it doesn’t exist in the national conversation; however, for those of us living here, Minneapolis is ugly.”