LA VALLEUR COMMUNICATES: Musings By Barbara La Valleur — George Floyd’s Impact

A month to the day after George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer, my husband and I went to pay our respects, view parts of Lake Street, the 38th and Chicago area, the graffiti art, the memorial in front of Cub Foods that has been seen around the world.

Arnie picked up a trifold giving the background of what happened. It encouraged conversations for engagement about racism and spoke to the significance of the space with a request to “approach the space with reverence.”

I couldn’t escape the monumental stirrings, thoughts and tears that I experienced seeing of the majority of the flowers being dead and the extraordinarily artistic (for the most part) graffiti everywhere.

There were professional murals, scrawled street signs, rock art, sidewalk chalk art, a list of dozens of names of mostly young Black men murdered by police on the street and the cemetery-like display three blocks away in a grassy area with dozens and dozens of names of murdered Black people’s names on tombstone-like cards stuck in the ground and a sign encouraging people to “Say Their Names.”

Despite the 85-degree temperature, dozens of people were slowly milling around the area, as were we. Some stopped to listen to a Black pastor who said he comes every day to preach, pray and unite people.

There was a distinct reverence present and profound sadness. George Floyd will never know the difference he made, not just in Minneapolis or Minnesota but in the entire United States and, indeed, the world.

Thank God for Darnella Fraizer, the 17-year-old Black high school senior, who had the sense to know something wasn’t right and use her cell phone to video George Floyd’s last 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

As a result, I, along with millions of others around the world, have been touched, moved and inspired to be in action regarding conversations about racism. I have started reading “White Fragility” by Robin DeAngelo. I’m having conversations with friends and acquaintances. Cities and towns across the country are looking at and making changes to how their Police Departments work.

My friend, former Minneapolis City Councilman and School Board member, Don Samuels, and his wife, Sondra Samuels, president and CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone, and other north Minneapolis African American activists have started a community-based 30 Days of Prayer Healing the Heart of Our City in a parking lot at Hawthorne Crossing, 912 W. Broadway Ave. at Bryant Avenue North, Minneapolis. Every day until July 30, from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., people are invited to come and sit, stand or kneel for 8 min. and 46 seconds, the time it took for George Floyd to die at the knee of (now former) police officer Derek Michael Chauvin. All are welcome. See flier in following photo gallery for more details.

These photos are for those of you who because of distance or for whatever reason are not able to personally come to the site. I purposefully focused on photos with few or no people.

People are starting to “listen” to each other and be in action about what’s important to them. For that I am truly thankful.

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