I originally wrote this post to no one. I soon shared it with my work colleagues while wrestling to come to terms with national events in my hometowns of Minneapolis and Portland.
Today is an important day for my family, an important day for my son. This is why I vote today.
Thanks to those who have reached out regarding the events in Minneapolis. I wanted to share with you candidly that these events have caused our family deep pain and we are working through it. I’m surprised by how difficult these events have been. Andrea helped me realize that it’s a combination of many things.
Growing up in South Minneapolis, I shopped at Cup Foods regularly. Just two blocks from my house, it’s where my mom would send us for milk and bread; it’s where I would shop for candy, dill pickle chips, and squirt pop for weekend video game all-nighters. I’ve been there a hundred times. I’ve often stood where the bystanders recorded the murder of Floyd.
The Target where my mom bought us school clothes and supplies was looted; the police station I toured during high school was destroyed.
In 2016, Philando Castile was shot in Minnesota. Later that year, Trump was elected. I told Andrea this country felt less safe. We hoped this was paranoid thinking. Most recently, Ahmaud Arbery was shot by two men. For two months no one was charged. And now, George Floyd has been murdered. These events lead me to question our ability to bottle up the pain of the rampant, unapologetic, life-ending racism afflicting our country. After each of these events, I’ve thought to myself, “This will be the one that will end this all. This one was so brazen, now it will stop. This one was so clear, now something will happen.”
I no longer feel this way. I’m a hopeful person feeling hopeless.
My son is 13 months old and loves the world, and most everyone in it. Today people are kind to him. I wonder how old he’ll be when someone stops feeling a pang of guilt when they feel hostility towards him because of his race. I wonder how I’m going to pick a school that sets him up for success. I wonder how I’m going to teach him to be hopeful, brave, and a justice warrior, while also being skeptical, cautious, and wise enough to keep him alive.
I could have been Floyd. My brother could have been Floyd. My son could be Floyd.
Unusually, I don’t have any answers today. But I feel strongly I need to share with you how I’m feeling. Thanks for reading.