Where can we stand for justice?

In the past 24 hours, police have arrested 69 protesters outside the Governor’s Mansion.

People have been standing, sitting, singing, dancing, praying and sleeping outside the Governor’s Mansion since July 6, when Philando Castile was fatally shot by a cop during a traffic stop.

We have stood outside the Governor’s Mansion, asking Governor Dayton to show his leadership. We have stood, black, white, Asian, straight, gay, trans, able-bodied and disabled, old and young, asking for justice for a 32-year-old Minnesotan whose last moments have been seared into our state and national history, our collective memory.

IMAG3876When we stood on Interstate 94, blocking traffic, disrupting ordinary life, many Minnesotans, including some of my family and friends, complained, saying freeways are no place for protests.

When we stood outside the governor’s mansion, some Minnesotans, including some of the Governor’s neighbors, complained, saying the Governor’s Mansion is no place for protests. Continue reading “Where can we stand for justice?”

White blindness

Books and blogs to learn more about our racial divide

Philando Castile’s death two weeks ago forced me to see how little I knew.

I was blind. White blind. I was ignorant about the racial divides, the racism, where I live. I thought the deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Samuel Dubose, and Alton Sterling were tragedies that happened somewhere else. Not here.

Now I know. We are Ferguson and Cleveland and Baltimore and Baton Rouge. We are a place where a cop can fatally shoot a black man because he is black. I don’t want another Philando Castile to die because people like me are white blind.

So here’s what I’m reading and following, to see what I should have known years ago:

A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, Sun Yung Shin, ed.

Showing Up for Racial Justice Minnesota

Continue reading “White blindness”

Too much violence

We’ve seen too much violence.

We’ve seen violence against cops— twenty officers hurt during Saturday’s Interstate 94 protest; twelve officers shot in Dallas on Friday, including five killed.

We’ve seen violence by cops—Philando Castile killed on Wednesday in Falcon Heights, and Alton Sterling killed last Tuesday in Baton Rouge.

We’ve seen violence against gays—forty-nine people killed and 53 injured in Orlando in June.

We’ve seen too much violence. Too much hate. Too much fear. Too many guns.

Not enough peace.

Some have compared this bloody year with 1968, when Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were killed. Continue reading “Too much violence”

From Saint Paul to Istanbul

Saint Paul is 4,607 miles from Istanbul, but this week’s terrorism seemed a heartbeat away.

My 22-year-old son landed at Ataturk Airport on Monday, a day before the carnage. Three terrorists. 41 dead. More than 200 injured. The news stories seemed painfully real. I ache for the families of the victims, who were just people going places, people on trips, going to work, just living. Until Tuesday.

I’m grateful my son was miles away from the airport when the bullets and bombs exploded. Still, I’m rattled. When bad things happen close to the people we love, we see how small the world is, no matter how many miles separate us.

Part of me wishes my son had stayed here, in not-so-dramatic Saint Paul. Another part is proud he is far away, exploring the world.The more we travel, seeing different places, people, and ways of living, the better our chances of understanding the world.

So I say, go travel, see the world, go, in peace.