Browse Tag

George Floyd

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Teen Who Documented George Floyd’s Murder, to be Honored with Courage Award

Darnella Frazier, 17, the woman who filmed the murder of George Floyd, is this year’s recipient of the Benenson Courage Award from PEN America, a leading literary and human rights organization, the Star-Tribune reported Wednesday.

“With nothing more than a cellphone and sheer guts, Darnella changed the course of history in this country, speaking a bold movement demanding an end to systemic anti-black racism and violence at the hands of police,” PEN CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement.

“With remarkable steadiness, Darnella carried out the expressive act of bearing witness, and allowing hundreds of millions around the world to see what she saw,” the statement said. “Without Darnella’s presence of mind and readiness to risk her own safety and well-being, we may never have known the truth about George Floyd’s murder.”

Floyd’s police-custody death on May 25 sparked global protests against police brutality and racial justice.

Frazier came upon the scene and started shooting video with her mobile phone, with the footage showing Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressing his knee on the back of a handcuffed Floyd’s neck as he lay on the ground.

Chauvin, who was fired following the incident, pinned Floyd down for nearly nine minutes while he pleaded, “I can’t breathe.”

“The world needed to see what I was seeing,” Frazier said in an interview a day after the incident. “Stuff like this happens in silence too many times.”

The teen has not spoken publicly about her video since, but said through a family representative this week that she was “humbled” and “very grateful” for the award, the outlet reported.

The New York-based PEN awards were founded in 1963, with past recipients including Anita Hill, who testified against the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991, and a group of student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School following a massacre there.

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Minneapolis City Council Announces Plan To Disband The Police Department

On Sunday afternoon, a veto-proof majority of Minneapolis City Council members will announce their commitment to disbanding the city’s embattled police department, which has endured relentless criticism in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, on May 25.

“We’re here because we hear you. We are here today because George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis Police. We are here because here in Minneapolis and in cities across the United States it is clear that our existing system of policing and public safety is not keeping our communities safe,” Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender said Sunday. “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed. Period.”

The City Council’s decision follows those of several other high-profile partners, including Minneapolis Public Schools, and the University of Minnesota, and Minneapolis Parks and Recreation, to sever longstanding ties with the MPD.

The announcement today also arrives after several members of the Council have expressed a complete loss of confidence in the Minneapolis Police Department.

“We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department,” tweeted Council Member Jeremiah Ellison on June 4, pledging to “dramatically rethink” the city’s approach to emergency response. In a TIME op-ed published the next day, Council Member Steve Fletcher cited the MPD’s lengthy track record of misconduct and “decades-long history of violence and discrimination”—all of which are subjects of an ongoing Minnesota Department of Human Rights investigation—as compelling justifications for the department’s disbandment. “We can resolve confusion over a $20 grocery transaction without drawing a weapon or pulling out handcuffs,” Fletcher wrote.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said last night that he opposed disbanding the police department at a protest organized and led by Black Visions Collective against police violence in the city. That answer earned him a thundering chorus of boos and chants of “Shame!” and “Go home, Jacob, go home!” The New York Times called the scene a “humiliation on a scale almost unimaginable outside of cinema or nightmare.”

“The last Democratic mayor, Betsy Hodges, handled the murder of Jamar [Clark] poorly. We told her she was going to lose her job. And she did,” Miski Noor, a Black Visions Collective organizer, said on Frey’s refusal to disband the Minneapolis Police Department.

Since taking office in January 2018, Frey has overseen reforms to the MPD’s body camera policy that impose harsher discipline on officers who fail to comply, and barred officers from participating in so-called “Bulletproof Warrior” training, which encourages law enforcement to use deadly force if they feel their lives are in jeopardy. The officer who shot and killed Philando Castile during a 2016 traffic stop had attended a seminar two years earlier.

More recently, however, Frey has faced criticism from community groups for supporting increases to the MPD’s budget, and for the city’s failure to invest significantly in community-based public safety programs during his tenure.

For years, activists have argued that MPD has failed to actually keep the city safe, and City Councilmembers echoed that sentiment today during their announcement. MPD’s record for solving serious crimes in the city is consistently low. For example, in 2019, Minneapolis police only cleared 56 percent of cases in which a person was killed. For rapes, the police department’s solve rate is abysmally low. In 2018, their clearance rate for rape was just 22 percent. In other words, four out of every five rapes go unsolved in Minneapolis. Further casting doubt on the department’s commitment to solving sexual assaults, MPD announced last year the discovery of 1,700 untested rape kits spanning 30 years, which officials said had been misplaced.

The Council’s move is consistent with rapidly-shifting public opinion regarding the urgency of overhauling the American model of law enforcement. Since Floyd’s killing and the protests that ensued, officials in Los Angeles and New York City have called for making deep cuts to swollen police budgets and reallocating those funds for education, affordable housing, and other social services. Law enforcement officers are not equipped to be experts in responding to mental health crises, often leading to tragic results—nationally, about half of police killings involve someone living with mental illness or disability.

As a result, public health experts have long advocated for dispatching medical professionals and/or social workers, not armed police, to respond to calls related to substance use and mental health. Polling from Data for Progress indicates that more than two-thirds of voters—68 percent—support the creation of such programs, versions of which are already in place in other cities such as, Eugene, Oregon; Austin, Texas; and Denver, Colorado.

“Our commitment is to do what is necessary to keep every single member of our community safe and to tell the truth that the Minneapolis Police are not doing that,” Bender said Sunday. “Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it, and to recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.”

 

Source: The Appeal

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Black Owned Businesses in Minnesota That Need Your Support

Damn. As if COVID related shutdowns weren’t enough, Black owned businesses in Minnesota are now bearing the brunt of protests taking place due to the senseless and preventable murder of George Floyd.

In response, we’re creating a list of Black owned businesses in Minnesota that need your support now, post Rona, post protest, and going forward.

I’m torn because I know why the legitimate protests are happening, but my heart also goes out to the entrepreneurs whose livelihood is being affected right now.

Black Owned Businesses in Minnesota

Please note that while some of these businesses are closed temporarily for a few obvious reasons, others are still operating online and offer delivery services.

This is a working list so let me know which ones we’ve missed.

Black Owned Businesses in Minnesota

Restaurants

Afro Deli

Black Owned Businesses in Minnesota
Afro Deli

Breaking Bread Cafe

Black Owned Businesses in Minnesota
Breaking Bread

Dragon Wok 

Dragon Wok

Daughters and Sons Bakery

Sammy’s Avenue Eatery

Black Owned Businesses in Minnesota
Sammy’s Avenue Eatery

Smoke in the Pit 

Smoke In The Pit

Thigh Times Birdhouse 

Ted Cook’s 19th Hole BBQ

Soul Bowl

Soul Bowl

Trio Plant-Based

The Red Sea Restaurant & Bar 

Tommie’s Pizza

Tommie’s Pizza

Pimento Jamaican Kitchen

PJ Murphy’s Bakery

 

Online Bookstore

Strive Publishing

Co-Working Space

New Rules 

Performing Arts

Penumbra Theater 

New Dawn Theatre

New Dawn Theatre

Retail

Queen Anna House of Fashion

Queen Anna House of Fashion

Angie’s Hats 

Arway 

Omari Brow Studio

Chef Flo-K Foods 

Brewery

One Fermentary & Taproom

ONE Fermentary & Taproom

Du Nord Craft Spirits

Du Nord Craft Spirits

 

-Tony O. Lawson


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