A Man Was Murdered This Week

George Floyd, as illustrated by Andres Guzman
George Floyd, as illustrated by Andres Guzman

Just four days ago George Floyd was murdered. By four Minneapolis police officers. George was unarmed, handcuffed, and lying face down on the ground. Three officers pinned George to the ground, and one pressed his knee into George’s neck and kept it there for more than 8 minutes. The fourth officer stood over them and did nothing to intervene. George begged for his life, as did concerned citizens on the street. The cries for mercy went unheard, and cellphone video captured the last minutes of George Floyd’s life.

Just four days ago George Floyd was murdered by officers sworn to protect and serve. They were fired from their jobs, but that is not justice for taking a life. Minnesota Attorney General, Keith Ellison has asked us to wait “until all the evidence is available.” Millions of people around the world have seen the video…and the consensus is no additional evidence is needed. As of this writing, only one officer has been arrested. All four officers should have been charged immediately, and the fact that they were able to walk freely, while George’s family plans his funeral, is an injustice that has, rightly so, pushed people to the edge.

Just four days ago George Floyd was murdered. Protesters began to gather, peacefully, to demand that his murderers be brought to justice. They were met with officers in riot gear. The police response to this call for justice is in stark contrast to the way ReOpen Minnesota protesters were treated earlier this month, as they called for the state to ‘return to normal’ in the midst of a global pandemic. Those protesters — mainly White folks, some of whom were heavily armed — were praised by the federal government. Our folks, who are seeking justice not just for George, but for all of us who continue to fight for social and racial justice, have been labeled as ‘thugs’, and the President of the United States has called for the shooting of citizens exercising their constitutional rights.

Just four days ago George Floyd was murdered, a mere 2.1miles away from re:power’s headquarters. Our history as an organization, from our days as Wellstone Action is deep in the Twin Cities. Our staff lives near the site of George’s murder. Our hearts and support are with the individuals and organization on the ground, working for progress.

Just four days ago, George Floyd was murdered. Sadly, his name is not the only name we speak. Tony McDade. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Sean Reed. Steven DeMarco Taylor. Rekia Boyd. Eric Garner. Sandra Bland. Freddie Gray. Trayvon Martin.

The list is too long — and these are only the names we’ve heard about.

re:power was born from the ashes of tragedy. As Wellstone Action, for years we trained leaders, in Minneapolis and throughout the country — preparing them to lead with courage and conviction. Now as re:power, we still train leaders, but we focus clearly on dismantling the oppressive systems that uphold anti-blackness and white supremacy. Our organizing lens is centered at the intersections of all forms of oppression. Because we can not remove the true lived experiences of anti-Black racism and white supremacy from our politics and leadership. And as re:power, we are holding our elected officials accountable.

That’s why we’re calling on AG Keith Ellison, a Wellstone alum, to be the people’s lawyer and bring charges against the other three officers immediately.

We’re also calling on the media to refocus the narrative on justice for George. Understand that uprisings are not acts of violence and connect your stories to protesters’ pain, fear, and anger, boiling over in the face of anti-blackness and continued racial and social injustice. As activists on the ground continue to chant: No Justice, No Peace.

Lastly we’re calling on our community to stand in solidarity with folks on the ground. We are asking you to give your support to these three groups that are actively supporting activists and protestors on the ground.

  • Black Visions Collective believes in a future where all Black people have autonomy, safety is community-led, and we are in the right relationship within our ecosystems.
  • Reclaim the Block is calling on Minneapolis to invest in violence prevention, housing, resources for youth, emergency mental health response teams, and solutions to the opioid crisis — not more police.
  • Minnesota Freedom Fund is a community based nonprofit raising bail funds for protesters on the ground.

Just four days ago, George Floyd was murdered. Our hearts go out to his family. We demand justice be served.

In solidarity.

We believe in a future of inclusive politics where decisions about our communities are made by our communities at all levels.