Why Minneapolis Was the Breaking Point

Wesley Lowery for The Atlantic on why the events following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis are markedly different from those that followed previous murders of people of color.

For years, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets to demand a wholesale reimagining of the criminal-justice system. They have stated clearly that they believe American policing is inherently flawed. Black people in America, they argue, are chronically overpoliced and underserved. They are stopped and frisked while walking to the bodega and harassed while cooking out on their porches and patios. But when they are murdered? American police almost never deliver them justice.

“We shouldn’t fear the police,” Alvin Manago, 55, who was Floyd’s roommate for the past four years, and still hasn’t been able to bring himself to begin packing up the slain man’s belongings, told me through tears as we stood next to the colossal memorial that has sprung up at the scene of the killing. “Like when I was a little kid—‘Oh, the police is here, they’re going to help us.’ That’s what I want us to believe and feel again.”

“People finally see it. White people too,” Floyd’s younger brother Philonise told me as we talked in the lobby of the Minneapolis hotel where we were both staying. “My brother is going to change the world.”

Lowery, Wesley. (2020, June 10). Why Minneapolis Was the Breaking Point. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/06/wesley-lowery-george-floyd-minneapolis-black-lives/612391/

I also found this particular quote remarkable in that it explains why people will sometimes resort to violence as a form of protest.

“I would never condone violence, ever,” says Elijah Norris-Holliday, a 24-year-old activist in the Twin Cities who has been organizing peaceful daytime protests and who was so distraught after seeing the video of Floyd’s death that he didn’t sleep for days. “But sometimes, when people feel like their voices are being ignored over and over and over, violence is the only other answer. They have to burn their own community down to get people to listen to them. We’re at a breaking point.”

As an aside, Miski Noor, who is mentioned prominently in this article, was also on The Daily Social Distancing Show with Trevor Noah. It is absolutely worth a watch.

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