1. Derek Chauvin’s Trial has Begun
Chauvin’s trial is starting off with roughly a month long selection of jurors, and the first few have not been promising whatsoever with “three white men, along with a woman of color and a Black man…three selected jurors have personal relationships with police.” This trial is just as much a process towards justice as it is an evaluation of Black lives to America, and more poignantly, to white people as it is white supremacy that repeatedly kills us. The good news is that they have reinstated the third degree murder charge.
2. Minneapolis has Militarized Downtown
Photo: Taken March 8th, 2020 by Jonathan Winters at the Racial Justice Network’s march action.
Minneapolis, Hennepin County has a budget of 1M for barricades and private security for the Derek Chauvin trial. The barricades extended around the entirety of the buildings, they have armored and armed vehicles, along with constant police monitoring. There have been new installations of security cameras at intersections near the courthouse as well. Many businesses downtown have boarded up their 1st level doors and windows as the trial is under way. This display of security is not only an insult, but also a show of insecurity in their own justice system here in Minneapolis.
3. George Floyd Autonomous Zone Now Exists With a List of Demands
The intersection of East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, also known as George Floyd Square, the site where George Floyd was murdered, has become a police-free autonomous zone. An autonomous zone is an area within an authoritarian state that has been defined to be free of that authority. It has freedom from the external system and operates as such.
George Floyd Square stands as a place of livelihood for BIPOC that act in defiance of systemic oppression and activism fatigue. The space is essentially reclaimed as an exploration of Black joy, and Blackness at large.
4. Mutual Aid Networks rather than State Legislature are Dismantling Police Impunity
The House of Representatives just passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, with a vote of 220 to 212. Two democrats had joined Republicans to vote no. “The bill facilitates federal enforcement of constitutional violations (e.g., excessive use of force) by state and local law enforcement. Among other things, it does the following:”
1. “lowers the criminal intent standard—from willful to knowing or reckless—to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct in a federal prosecution”,
2. “limits qualified immunity as a defense to liability in a private civil action against a law enforcement officer or state correctional officer, and”
3. “authorizes the Department of Justice to issue subpoenas in investigations of police departments for a pattern or practice of discrimination”.
Despite the efforts of legislature, it isn’t enough. Here are two organizations who are doing the work that is truly needed to free us from police brutality and impunity.
“Reclaim the Block began in 2018 and organizes Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety. We believe health, safety and resiliency exist without police of any kind.”
“We organize to shape decisions for ourselves, our communities, and the world. We do this by building visionary, strategic, and sustainable movements led by Black Queer and Trans folks that can hold all of us. We know that Blackness is expansive and our work must reflect this clarity. To honor this knowing, we strive to build relationships within abundant ecosystems and across movements that address the diverse needs and futures of all Black people.”
5. Progressives are Now Candidates for the 2021 Minneapolis Election
In response to George Floyd’s death, many have stepped up to replace those in power who have funded and allowed for racially motivated subjugation to exist and continue in a city and state that claims to be one of the best states in the country to live, for white people, while simultaneously being one of the worst states for BIPOC. These candidates are here to move the scale of equity from its immersion in an unequal existence.
Robin Wonsley Worlobah, running in Ward 2 to be Minneapolis’ first Black Socialist City Council member.
“Mass multiracial grassroots organizing can make what is perceived to be impossible, possible.” –Robin Wonsley Worlobah
Sheila June Nezhad, running to be Minneapolis’ Mayor
I have always believed in the possibility of a revolution, of a more just world. This past year the people of Minneapolis taught me what walking toward justice really looks like. – Sheila June Nezhad
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