Across the Twin Cities, many residents have begun raising their voices and concerns about recent escalating violence in the communities. One such gathering took place on Friday, July 10 at Guns Down, Love Up, part of a campaign started by the family of late activist Tyrone Williams, who was slain in 2018.
For this Word on the Street column, the MSR asked community members at the North Minneapolis gathering to share their thoughts on the violence and possible solutions.
It’s unfortunate about the violence that has taken place in the Twin Cities. People are dealing with a lot of anger, aggression, hopelessness and disparity…
To be able to come up with a solution, we need to get to the root of the problem. A lot of anger is rooted in what we see. We live in a violent country. There is violence all around us. A lot of stuff starts at home and can be addressed at home—lack of love, self-hate and misunderstanding. Spread love!
You know, right it’s been kinda been out of control. But the good thing that we need to focus on is that we have our community—the brothers and the sistas—out here policing the community ourselves, which is what we should’ve been doing from the get-go. So that what I’m focusing on. I’m not going to focus on the negative. We have to focus more on the solutions; showing presence in the community and policing ourselves.
Man, it is overwhelming. It breaks my heart just seeing it spreading to so many people. I’m working with Urban Homeworks right now and just talked to a mother today who lives in one of our homes who lost her son two nights ago. It’s tearing the community apart.
People are afraid to go out. Kids are afraid to play football. And we really need to figure out how to put an end to this. I think it’s coming from a lot of different directions, and I think we need to work together to come up with the solutions.
We need to find forgiveness for one another. There’s been a lot of stress and trauma in the community over the last five months, from the time that COVID started to the murder of George Floyd and the uprising that came after that. So we really need healing within the community—all that pressure and stress is boiling over.
There’s also a lot of questions about the role of the police, so we also need to look at political and social situations. But we’ve got to begin to look at our own blocks, communities, and families, holding our children, loving one another and making sure the people around us are getting the mental health, love and support they need to feel validated wherever people are at.
—Pastor Marque Jensen
What is upsetting is the North Side is portrayed as a violent and crazy place. If there was resources put into the community, maybe the portrayal would be different.
I think the City needs to move forward. The mayor of Minneapolis needs to redo the proposed budget by taking dollars from the police fund and putting the money into the community. We need to create community-centered activities for our youth. The City needs to invest in North Minneapolis!
It’s been really hard to see all the community violence over the last several weeks on top of everything else we’ve been dealing with this year with COVID, George Floyd. I think there’s a lot of hurt in the community right now, and people don’t have enough healing spaces…
As far as solutions, one, we need to give people opportunities, economics. People need jobs, a living wage; people need to know that the police is not out to get them, they are actually working for us for the good of the community.
We need resources here in North Minneapolis. We need activities for kids. We need better schools. The violence is a symptom of the fact that our community doesn’t feel cared for and hasn’t been properly cared for in a long time.
—Pastor Edrin Williams
The violence in the community is absolutely unacceptable. The adults in the community are upset; we are organizing or getting a petition to get some changes at the 4th Precinct.
We don’t feel that we are receiving any justice. We’re out here alone and we are just trying to find out who is responsible for stepping up and holding people accountable. In the meantime, the community is getting ready to step up.
We have to create opportunities and give hope in the community. If there is no hope, people have nothing to look forward to. Our youth in the community are gems and need to be polished. We need to take advantage of them and help give them the opportunities, resources and tools to help make them successful.
We got to be strong and hang in there. Don’t let people from outside come in and take over or speak for us. We are capable!
—Questions facilitated by Nikki Love.
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Nikki Love is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.