Building Back Communities: Here Are Ways to Find Meaning & Purpose From the George Floyd Tragedy by Stephanie Cannoe
Given recent events in our country and the tragic and senseless death of George Floyd, the outcries and pain of so many must be heard this time. But how do we move forward differently, and will this be the last time?
The initial reactions and rage by many to his death created waves of blame and shame, powerlessness and helplessness, which led to acts of destruction and rioting. This is not the outcome that will move mountains. But in the destruction comes an opportunity for those of us who are ready to respond, for those who can face the fear of hatred upon their shoulders and begin to move forward with courage and strength. It is time to make a change and we all have to change for change to occur.
Photo: People protesting in Houston, Texas, on May 29, 2020, after the killing of George Floyd
Where can we begin again? The future that we all hope for our children shifts complacency to how can each one of us help to build our communities based on inclusivity and diversity, respect and trust.
We can turn to and begin to make a change by making meaningful connections, by finding meaning in service to each other and by continuing these conversations. The answer is not simple, but although the task may seem daunting, it is the day-to-day efforts that will bear fruit. I am hopeful!
Here are some ideas. All we have to do is start somewhere and to begin a conversation. All we have to do is try.
- Connect across differences. Organizations like The Grand, Mon Ami, and CIRKEL are virtually connecting diverse groups of people for conversation and companionship in these times.
- Join a mutual aid group. During this COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rise in “mutual aid” groups, helping volunteers create informal networks to support their neighbors, such as by delivering groceries or medications. Find and join a local mutual aid group.
- Talk to your neighbors. How many of us have lived in a neighborhood for a number of years and not connected with those close by? Social networks such as Nextdoor allow us to stay connected to others locally, and members can also post and offer help.
- Connect your small daily actions to a greater purpose. At a recent gathering, Civic Saturday fellow Shamichael Hallman delivered a stirring sermon, saying, “We’re all looking for a light at the end of the tunnel. Instead of looking for that light, we must now become that light.”
- Become an organizer. Perhaps you could try to gather members of your community on a Zoom call and identify ways you can stay connected, or tap into community efforts you want to support as a group to support inclusivity and diversity.
I believe that in honor of George Floyd, together, we can make a difference. The following list of charities represents a selection of organizations in Minnesota providing support, and your donations to these organizations will help to make an impact.
Promoting Diversity, Inclusion and Equity
- YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities Equity Innovation Center of Excellence: A national center of excellence that seeks innovative ways to solve intractable problems around inequity, intolerance and exclusion.
- Northside Achievement Zone: Envisioning a prosperous North Minneapolis – where all children of color are healthy, secure and academically successful, ultimately realizing their unlimited potential.
Photo: Center for Economic Inclusion, Minneapolis-St. Paul
- Center for Economic Inclusion: The nation's first organization exclusively dedicated to advancing economic inclusion across all sectors in a major metropolitan area.
Rebuilding and Support for Affected Businesses
- Lake Street Council: Donating 100 percent of donations toward helping the Lake Street small business community rebuild their storefronts and providing for their community in this time of need.
- Hamline Midway Coalition: Accepting donations for the Midway United Fund in partnership with Neighbors United Funding Collaborative, which will help the small business and nonprofit community rebuild their storefronts during this time of need.
Food and Necessities
- Second Harvest Heartland: Mobilizing to make sure meals reach those most affected by the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.
- Loaves & Fishes: Serving free, fresh and healthy meals at several sites across the area.
Photo (main): A teddy bear holds a message for the family of George Floyd in Houston, Texas
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