A Native Daughter Grieves

I am grieving for my home state. I feel no anger or fear. Just grief.

I have two thoughts:

1. People who think one person can’t make a difference haven’t seen the image of Derek Chauvin kneeling on a panicked George Floyd’s neck. One person can make a difference…for better or for worse. This is why I’m a teacher, because the next generations needs to understand that the way they move through the world as individuals matters so incredibly much.

2. To the rioters of Minneapolis: fighting fire with fire is never constructive. Why are you decimating the city? Such a beautiful, artsy, unique, lake filled city? There is no other Minneapolis out there. You are destroying a place that is uniquely Minnesota, and I grieve for that.

— — —

Unfortunately, George Floyd’s story isn’t new. It hits close to home, because it’s happening in my home state. I think the fact that the incident was recorded, that there is physical evidence of it happening, brings the incident to life, makes it seem more real. I also find the nature of the crime itself very unsettling: how can one human kneel on another human’s neck for a number of minutes, knowing full well that the other person is in pain? This is behavior that is sadistic in nature, and I find it hard to swallow that such behavior happened in a city I know and love. Yet, I know well enough that this isn’t an isolated incident. At the end of the day, whether a black man is shot or choked to death by American law enforcement, it’s all wrong, and it shouldn’t be happening. We need more faith and trust in our black men in America. Part of me fears for the black boys I’ve taught–that I’ve had the pleasure of teaching and knowing. This is the society we’re going to spit them out into?

They deserve better. We all deserve better. Senseless violence helps no one.

Change needs to happen. Why isn’t it happening? I’ve been thinking about the race riots of 1968 and wonder–is this 1968 all over again? We need to turn our collective anger and grief into something constructive, because how we’re responding now isn’t constructive. I wonder, is the Coronavirus making us lose our wits? In the words of a good friend, after over two months of staying at home and sheltering in place, “George Floyd is the straw that broke the camel’s back.” The mayor of Washington, DC, a city 1,100 miles away from Minneapolis, Minnesota, issued a city-wide curfew last night due to a growing concern about violent protests. Many other states and cities have issued similar curfews and/or states of emergency. We are a nation that is broken. Coronavirus or not, systemic racism is destroying this country, chipping away at any dignity it holds. This is not okay.

— — —

Minneapolis,

I know that you are angry and grieving. I know that the whole nation is angry and grieving, but George Floyd died at the hands of a police officer in your backyard–it’s so devastatingly close to home. Know that I’m thinking of you, and that I hope you can heal in time. Don’t forget all that you are made of, all the reasons you are a city to love and believe in. This too shall pass. We cannot change what happened to George Floyd, but I do hope we as a nation can move into a better future where black men aren’t murdered on the streets in cold blood by the police officers who are supposed to ensure the safety of all citizens.

Much love,

A Native Daughter from Afar

Lake Harriet with Downtown Minneapolis visible in the background

#WeekendCoffeeShare–Funerals, Friends, and The Future

If we were having coffee, I’d say hello and we’d probably exchange some pleasantries. Then, I’d dive right into how exhausting my grandfather’s funeral was on Monday. Let me start off by saying that I’ve come to realize that I prefer to grieve in private. So, naturally, I have come to realize that I despise the public grieving ground that a funeral is. Everyone patting each other on the back and offering condolences. I know people mean well but man, I just want some space. My grandfather had an open casket and at twenty-three, I have never been to an open casket funeral before. I have never in my life seen a dead body and I mean, I’m a grown up. I know a dead body is pretty harmless. It won’t bite. Still, I couldn’t handle it. I tried my best to ignore the part of the room where his casket was on display for viewing because I knew I would lose my shit…but then I decided it would be right to just take one look. So, I found myself about ten feet away from the casket–close enough to see his body from afar–and, as anticipated, lost my shit. Thankfully, my aunt and mom came to the rescue and promptly dragged me away, telling me that I should feel no obligation to look at his body when I wasn’t comfortable with it, that grandpa wouldn’t want it that way.

Needless to say, when my time comes–hopefully many, many moons from now–I intend to be cremated and turned into a tree.

I found the rest of the day to be quite exhausting–I had a headache from crying and was overwhelmed by emotions and so many people, many of whom I hadn’t seen in ages or didn’t know at all. I was happy to be back home at the end of the day Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–Funerals, Friends, and The Future”