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

US Election Thoughts: On The Future of America and Why We Need Old Blood in 2016

Bernie supporters are angry. So angry they staged a walk out at the Democratic National Convention when Hillary Clinton’s nomination for the Democratic Party’s presidential ticket was formally announced.

Bernie supporters are angry and they have a right to be. The man they supported and believed in, who they thought would be the best pick for the 2016 Democratic ticket, was undermined by his own party. The Wikileaks prove it. There’s no denying the facts.

Bernie supporters are angry and that’s okay. Expressing anger is a healthy reaction in situations where one feels they have been slighted, ignored, purposefully not heard.

So yes, Bernie supporters are angry. As they should be. However, as a twenty-three year old millennial who is paying closer to attention to this election than any of the five other elections that have happened in my life time, I am seriously worried about how their anger will affect the outcome of this election.

— — — —

I do not identify as a Democrat or a Republican. I have been and always will be politically moderate. I identify with portions of both conservative and liberal ideologies. I believe in voting for a candidate who is the best fit for a given office, regardless of their party orientation, and am not opposed to voting across party lines.

All this said, I usually don’t express my political believes on the internet. I believe my political beliefs are my own business and my own concern. Today, however, I am making an exception to that rule. Today, I am discussing my own political beliefs on the internet for the world to see…because I believe it needs to be heard. Because this 2016 election the most important election recent history. Because I wouldn’t feel right keeping silent.

— — — —

This election year, I will be voting for Hillary Clinton. I will be voting for Hillary Clinton not because she is a woman (though hey, as a young woman myself, I do think that is pretty damn great). I will be voting for her because I strongly believe she is the best qualified candidate for the position. Hillary has gotten a lot of flack lately, yes. Most recently for the way she has utilized her State Department e-mail account–but also for political slights and policy missteps that she’s made throughout her political career. Because she often comes off as cold, uncaring, and dare I say it BORING while addressing the public.

People have found every which reason to despise Hillary, to tear her down–and yet she’s still standing. She’s still standing after four decades that included eight years as First Lady in the White House, eight years as Senator of New York, and four years as Secretary of State. Politics is Continue reading “US Election Thoughts: On The Future of America and Why We Need Old Blood in 2016”

The Power of a Symbol…Or, Will Intolerance Ever End?

I’m not the type of person you’ll find at a protest. You’ll be hard pressed to find me at a rally of any sort. I went to the 2014 Pride Parade in Washington D.C. last summer because my roommates went…but I never would have thought to go on my own.

It’s not that I don’t care about Black Lives or LGBTQ issues or the environment, what have you.

It’s not that I don’t believe we should strive for a better planet, a better human race.

It’s not any of that.

I’m considering a career in genocide education for heavens sakes. I care a lot.

I’m just very reserved. I don’t like to draw attention to myself in public places like a protest or a rally. I abhor arguing unless it’s with someone I’m very close to and trust. I’m pretty non-confrontational and generally speaking, would much rather express my urgency for a better world, a better human race through writing or a small group or one on one conversation. Humanity frustrates me a lot. For all the beauty and grace and good there is out there, there is also a lot to be concerned about. Humanity scares me. Humanity makes me wonder how much we as a collective really value this life at all.

But I would feel no satisfaction in marching in a protest, holding a sign up at a rally. In fact, I’d feel unnecessarily in the spot light. And I’d want to go and hide.

So, when I saw the first Confederate flag waving proudly(?) in the front lawn of a private family home in a small Midwestern town, I said nothing. I later texted a friend my disgust, but in the moment, I said nothing.

When I saw the second Confederate flag waving across town on the lawn of a different private family home, I again said nothing. I texted two friends this time as my distress over the two Continue reading “The Power of a Symbol…Or, Will Intolerance Ever End?”