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Letter from the Editor: Jacob Blake, George Floyd and the BLM Movement

We need to support our siblings and friends of colour and push for change in this trying time

I’m not gonna lie I’m usually very reserved about talking about my political opinions and beliefs online, and especially with this site. I know we as a site and I myself for the most part have been silent over the summer and not only do I apologise but that will be changing today. After what we have seen the past weeks and months I can no longer stay silent.

This year we have seen Breonna Taylor, an EMT who was sleeping, shot and killed during a botched raid by the Louisville Metro Police Department back in March. In the time since the the Police Chief has stepped down and one of the three officers have been fired but none have been charged.

Then in May in our own backyard George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis Police Department. In this case all four officers have been charged with at least one crime with Chauvin being charged with three separate crimes. This is hardly the first time a black man has been killed by police in or around Minneapolis. Jamar Clark was shot and killed in 2015 by the MPD and in 2016 Philando Castile was shot and killed by a member of the St. Anthony Police Department. That officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was found not guilty.

Minnesota has its own ugly history with racism along with that. From the mass execution of Native Americans in Mankato back in 1862. Which while I had Minnesota history in school, I do not remember being taught that. And in fact I did not learn about that until I started working in Mankato. Then in 1920 the lynching of three black men in Duluth, which I literally just found out today as I was writing this story. We also have former Minnesota Twins owner Calvin Griffith’s 1978 comments in Waseca:

“I’ll tell you why we came to Minnesota. It was when we found out you only had 15,000 blacks here. Black people don’t go to ballgames, but they’ll fill up a rassling ring and put up such a chant it’ll scare you to death. We came here because you’ve got good, hardworking white people here.”

Because of his comments Griffith’s statue has since been taken down at Target Field.

But most recently in Kenosha, WI another man, Jacob Blake, was shot seven times in the back by an officer with the Kenosha Police Department. Then a few days later a 17-year-old Illinois resident, Kyle Rittenhouse, killed two people in Kenosha. He drove across state lines, with a high-powered assault rifle to join a militia who were against the protests taking place in Kenosha, killed two people, walked past police, drove home, and slept at home in his own bed before ultimately being arrested on first-degree homicide charges.

This is the injustice the Black Lives Matter movement is fighting against and that we all need to be fighting against. Black people are dying in traffic stops, botched police raids, and just while being detained for no good reason. But the cops who murder people are getting off scot free. Then people defend the cops murdering the person and find every possible way to disparage the person who was killed. Absolutely none of this shit is right or should be happening ever. And it’s only made worse by comments like this one, from Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis:

“Everybody involved was out after the curfew. I’m not gonna make a great deal of it but the point is — the curfew’s in place to protect. Had persons not been out involved in violation of that, perhaps the situation that unfolded would not have happened.”

This is blaming the murder victims for being murdered, the equivalent of blaming the rape victim for being raped. It’s abhorrent, unnecessary, and honestly, absolutely fucking disgraceful.

When protests happened in Michigan where an armed militia was at the state capital protesting masks, nothing happened. No water cannons sprayed, no rubber bullets used, no pepper spray, no one shot and killed. But when a peaceful protest starts the police use all of the above, and then a riot breaks out in response to very obvious police brutality.

The NBA, WNBA, MLB, MLS, and later and eventually the NHL all had wildcat strikes and had games called off due to players protesting these shootings. I am 100% in support of that and I wish all MLS games this week were called off as well. Forward Madison has even cancelled their scheduled match against North Texas SC set for this weekend. Again I wish Minnesota United would do the same.

The Real Salt Lake owner has also made some racist comments, I’ll let our friends at RSL Soapbox fill you in.

People of colour are being murdered all around us and it needs to stop and change. We need to rise up, fight against, and dismantle the machine that allows this to happen. We need to change this country and it’s culture that allows things like this to continue. Because if you don’t think there is a problem then you are part of the fucking problem.

A friend of mine I met through Indoor Football in Iowa and now lives in Georgia said this:

“It will NEVER STOP.. WILL THIS BE ME... If it was me, what would you think happened?” - RL

And this made me fucking tear up because that hit so close to home. The man is like a friend, brother, and second father combined into one to me. I’ll leave you folks with a few things here. First is this from Trevor Noah the host of the Daily Show.

The second is this in-comprehensive list of deaths that have helped spark and fuel the Black Lives Matter movement. Take a look, It’s too long, just one is too long, and this is why we fight and need to continue to fight.

- Ashle Norling
Managing Editor
E Pluribus Loonum