You probably know that Minneapolis is my hometown. I was born there.
My house is in the suburbs, but I’ve built increasingly large parts of my life around Minneapolis. It’s where I got married and baptized my kids and sang in the choir, where I learned to write and play violin, where I launched my book, and where I go (when not hiding from a pandemic) to meet my friends and find joy.
So that corner where George Floyd was murdered by the police? I’ve driven past Cup Foods countless times. That’s usually the corner I turn at to get where I’m going.
It threw me that on the day of the murder, a woman who shares my name tried to get another man killed in Manhattan, playing all sweet, white, and fragile. I’m pretty delicate. But I’ve been educated by people all along the way who saved me from my hubris.
My church? You likely saw it on news clips, on the days of the curfew. It’s in a diverse neighborhood. I have been welcomed into Twin Cities Black churches more than once, as a guest of the choirs, to add my way-too-pristine white voice to their soulful songs.
As a kid, Minneapolis was where we went for special things, but I did understand that there were places we went and places we didn’t.
I’ve learned a lot since then, and exponentially more in these past several weeks.
I know I need to go there now.
You may wonder, given all that, why I haven’t written anything here.
Well… my first instinct was to go out and SAY or DO something.
Mercifully, my dear friend Kiki, who ACTUALLY lives in Minneapolis, told me to go home and do my own work first. As a white woman given to overthinking.
In recent years I’ve learned to feel my discomfort.
And REALLY, I needed to feel this.
Since then, I’ve been reading plenty and spending lots of time of Facebook amplifying voices of color and white allies I know who live closer in, who witnessed what was happening. You do know that People of Color didn’t burn down their own neighborhoods, right?
And I’ve been listening to people who were hurting.
I’m not entirely Minnesota Nice, and you probably know that. I’ve known a long time that I’m called to stand for human dignity, and if you’re in my world, I believe you know I do. It’s just…
This time… as a white woman who has coexisted with systemic oppression in my state for as long as I’ve lived, it wasn’t my place to lead. HOWEVER, It is my job to say, YES. I’m in this fight far more actively now. I nurture and amplify voices.
So let me make this abundantly clear:
I dedicate Courageous Wordsmith to supporting creative work and facilitating environments that are Anti-Racist and LGBTQ-affirming. As a white woman who is learning and continues to learn in real time, I am committed to protecting and supporting people who are part of historically disempowered groups.