Violence in downtown continues unabated

ThroughMyEyesnewTen people shot, one killed in the heart of downtown and on the near north side of the city on September 12, all in 90 minutes.

Downtown Minneapolis gunfire is unnerving for businesses,” headlines the StarTribune, September 14, 2015. Included: not-so-subtle dangerous racial inferences, as if downtown would be safer with a border wall built to keep out North Minneapolis.

Instead, how about a bridge to freedom: reduce violence by establishing and instituting an economic agenda that includes training and education that leads to jobs and decent housing protected by public safety officers.

The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts wants protection when shows are over. The StarTribune admits it is a known fact that “The gunfire fits a pattern of violence when bars close and large crowds spill into the streets of downtown.” With such knowledge, why no planning to deal with it?

The executive director of the Warehouse District Business Association admonished the mayor and city council about violence: “Let’s stop this before that happens.” Again, that would require a plan. For a dozen years we’ve predicted the carnage of summers of violence. Most recently, on April 2 and 30, and July 16 and 23, 2015, and last year on July 16 and 23, 2014. And still no plan.

My July 23, 2015 column discussed the presentation of Sheriff Rich Stanek at the Shiloh Temple International Ministries Church regarding increased violence and the lack of a plan to address the violence.

A sense of hopelessness and rage is brewing among African and Native Americans in general and, in particular, their youth. Is this violence and economic loss the price White and Black leadership are willing to pay to maintain the status quo of not allowing access for every Minnesotan to fairness and the right to work all job sites, which would enable them to gain access to a future of prosperity, equality and liberty?

Since that Shiloh Temple meeting, there have been over 40 people shot and wounded. At least eight have died. Proportionately, this ranks with Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, and yet still no plan. We were once “Murderopolis,” Will we be again?

This price that Black and White Minneapolis leaders are willing to pay to keep their status quo is a clear sense of disrespect for our community and our youth, as if our survival is less important than their privileged status quo.

The indictment of Bill Davis and his son, a Minneapolis police officer, regarding the disappearance of millions of dollars from a federally funded program called “Community Action,” underscores that this is a failure of both Black and White leadership. The dike of tolerance of this is at last breaking. Who can we trust to lead so that our rights are not violated and our future is no longer threatened and compromised?

As Thurgood Marshall said, “There’s no difference between a black snake and a white snake. They both bite.”

How much longer do our Black and White “leaders” expect African Americans to continue to be flogged, marginalized, and disrespected, and thus continue to suffer the casualties and the pain of a people being pushed over the edge? Will Dr. King’s nonviolence strategy be adopted or the nihilism of violence?

People do not like the word genocide, but we see a genocide against African and Native Americans in Minnesota, as our doors of opportunity and our dreams of equality and survival are trampled. Let’s build and not tear down. Let’s work together to avoid becoming the European scene of roundups and interior fences.

Stay tuned


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