Dear Minneapolis

Dear Minneapolis,

I know you have been through this before, and you are going through it again. But maybe some of you are feeling it for the first time, and I want to share my experience of what will come next. Maybe it will feel familiar. Maybe it will help you heal. Maybe it will help you understand. Or maybe you’ll just ignore it, and that’s ok, too.

You are, like so many communities, experiencing the smothering oppression of white supremacy, and seeing first-hand what it means to be at the nexus of fighting back against it. These times are scary, but they are powerful and inspiring, uncertain and yet formative, dark and yet hopeful. In the days, weeks, and months to come, you will experience many things as you start to recover and heal, and I want to express how normal these things will feel.

You will feel the rage of national narratives smearing out local stories.

You will feel connected to your community and be enraged at those outside who use it as a lever.

You will erupt at people who use “Minneapolis” to describe a discrete point in time, and not a living, breathing community still struggling to find its way.

You will have long-lasting trauma from the sound of helicopter engines. This will last years.

You will wrestle for the truth. And you will find frustration when you deliver it to people who won’t listen.

You will know the smell of tear gas and pepper spray. It will linger with you. Weeks from now, you’ll catch a whiff of it in your closet, despite having washed that T-shirt seven times already.

You will remember the glorious moments of solidarity with a tearful fondness, more than the moments of fear.

You will find positions that you agree with in tension with each other, even within your community context. Especially within your community context.

You will find relationships grow closer. You will find relationships break apart. This will still happen for months to come.

You will tell people who aren’t your family or partners “I love you” and you will mean it.

You will hear your local politicians say mind-bogglingly clueless things, and you will wonder how they ever got to be in power, even when you know how they got to be in power.

You will be red with anger when you see a complex story reduced to a single sentence by a national journalist who couldn’t find I-94 on a map if their life depended on it.

You will stare with befuddlement at an outsider who asks, “what river is that?”

You will get to know the inside of the courtrooms.

You will discover therein a million injustices that you knew to exist but never bothered to look in the eye.

You will never look at streetcorners the same way again.

You will tell friends and family who visit you, “this is where it happened,” as you walk by.

You will struggle with faith and you will question your relationship to it.

You will not know the words to tell people when they ask you if you’re okay. You’ll know it’s too simple of a question for the answer it deserves.

You will immerse yourselves in projects in an attempt to take control of something that makes sense.

You will froth with rage at those who want things to go back to normal, at those who call for civility, wondering if they experienced the same moments you did.

You will come to understand that they did not.

You will have a new understanding of violence.

You will have a new understanding of community.

You will have a new understanding of yourself.

You will have a new understanding of love.

In solidarity,

Emily, from Charlottesville

Posted: 30.05.2020

Built: 30.11.2022

Updated: 30.05.2020

Hash: 459788e

Words: 628

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes