Portraits of the Minneapolis Uprising The below series of portraits and interviews were taken during the ongoing protests, memorials, and community events following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. All photographs, with the exception of a few candids, were taken with the expressed consent of their subjects. All stories and names are included with the clear understanding they’d be shared, along with the opportunity to edit or remove later. This is Jay. I’ve seen Jay a number of times here at 38th and Chicago, but met him for the first time just this evening when he handed me a tiny slip of paper that said “you matter”. He had a big bowl full of these slips and was handing them out to everyone in the intersection. Before I took this picture, as I tend to do with these portraits, I asked “what brought you here”. He had a very short answer. He said “world peace”. (6-8-20) This is Hoksila Hanhepiwi. When I met Hoksila Hanhepiwi, they were watering all the many potted flowers around the George Floyd memorial. I walked with them for a few minutes during the watering. We began discussing the great Plains Indian warriors such as Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, and Crazy Horse. They told me that the Oglala were great warriors and that the term “Oglala” itself translates roughly to “people who scatter” in Lakota. I asked Hoksila Hanhepiwi what brought them here today. “This is a moment to choose a side. We need to make justice. If we don’t get peace, we’re going to take it. We’ve been the bigger man for who knows how long.” (6-16-20) This is Nadia. Nadia’s father, Abdi, felt compelled to bring his daughter here today. He told me that “we’ve been seeing this on the news, and I decided it was important for her to see this in person. I’ve explained to her why this is happening, and I think she understands now”. (6-7-20) This is Tyrone. Tyrone is a former NFL Safety, two-time Super Bowl champion (Steelers 2005, 2008), former Minnesota Viking, two-time All-American Golden Gopher, and, as of recently, a frequent visitor here at 38th and Chicago. When I first saw Tyrone, he was having pictures taken with community members, and telling his story. He acknowledged that as a former NFL football player, he has a platform. “This is my first protest”, he said. “Now I got a voice and I’m going to use it the right way. This has woken up people across the country. Whether they like it or not, it has.” Tyrone talked to me a while about a number of things, among which was the incarceration of his brother. “I have a brother in jail for 5 years for a suspended license”, he said. “A white guy murders a black man, and you pat him on the back. Look at how much money Zimmerman made. For us to change, we gotta come together.” However, the thing Tyrone seemed to talk the most about is how society needs to start treating women better. “Women in this world have been devalued and underpaid”, he said. “George Floyd said mamma, why you think he said that? They worship us knucklehead kings, but it takes a queen to make a king. Let’s start appreciating and listening to our queens. It’s time to give our queens their just due. They gotta carry us for 9 months. And they have to come with love. That’s what the world needs, a motherly love to comfort us.” (7-16-20) This is Joe. Joe is an Army National Guard veteran, an artist, and a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, a tribe of Ojibwa and Michif peoples. Joe was kind enough to share with me some of his past. He recalled to me his childhood at an Indian boarding school in South Dakota, as well as some of his experiences with activism work over many decades with AIM (the American Indian Movement) and other social justice efforts here in the United States. I asked about the installation he was working on (pictured behind him). He told me that he had built this huge dream catcher in the hopes it “will help our dreams lead to better days”, and to show solidarity with George Floyd. (6-9-20) This is Eliza “The Gatekeeper”. I’ve seen Eliza here nearly every day, managing volunteer parking and donations at the North entrance of the memorial. Every time I see her, she’s hard at work directing visitors and maintaining order. She strikes me as a no-nonsense type of woman. When I asked her to describe what it is she does here at “the village”, she responded that she “came to provide safety and protection. I decided to come down here and help with parking and make sure there’s no drama, to make sure volunteer parking and donation drop-off were taken care of. I’m trying to keep things straight and narrow. I’m the gatekeeper.” This is Monica. I first saw Monica and their partner, Kevin today at George Floyd Square moments after the news had broke that Derek Chauvin had been found guilty on all three counts, including murder. It would be hard for me to describe the mood among the people at 38th and Chicago following the announcement, but I think this photo of Monica does a better job than any words of mine could. Everywhere you looked, people were crying.I caught up with Monica an hour or so later to offer them this portrait, which they accepted. When I asked Monica how this made them feel, they told me “I feel like today is a moment of air, a moment to breathe… There’s so much more to do. But today we get to take a breath.”George Floyd Square (Verdict day 4-20-21) This is Kris, and his son. Kris is a Minneapolis fireman that I met today shortly after a large Father’s Day march arrived at 38th and Chicago. His son was having himself a one man march around the memorial with his large African American Flag, so I asked if I could take their photo. When I asked Kris why he came here today, he replied “I’m a black father and I’m a fireman, so I understand both sides of it. I see both sides. I wanted to support the movement as a black man with a black son, and teach him to serve the community in the best way he can.” (6-21-20) This is C. When I met C, she was working as a marshall, stationed on the street outside Bottineau Park, where a pre march rally was taking place. A couple weeks or so after the march, I asked C over email if she’d like to add a statement to the portrait by telling me what compelled her to come out and do this work (portrait was initially taken before I incorporated stories in this series). She replied, “I’m involved in the protests with the ultimate goal of police abolition. I am a member of Black Visions Collective, where Black queer, trans, and non binary leaders organize and strategize for Black liberation — which necessitates the abolition of the police. I am so proud to be part of this organization and to have participated in such a joyful and meaningful direct action. Until Black people are free, especially Black queer, trans, and non binary femmes, nobody is free.” (6-06-20) Aztec dancers at the Minnesota State Capitol (5-31-20) This is Elton. Elton and I worked together years ago, and it was great to see him again! When I asked Elton what brought him to the memorial today, he told me that he knew George personally. He told me that they had “met at Palmer’s. He liked my hat, and I loved his suit!” (6-13-20) This is Clifton. Clifton tutors young people in gardens throughout North Minneapolis, and works to “stop the North MPLS public school to prison pipeline and replace it with a North MPLS public school to the UofM pipeline.” I first saw Clifton at 38th and Chicago yesterday, as he was giving a speech to the crowd about his plans to create a permanent community garden here at “the Village”. He argues that “a whole new system of change can come from a garden”, and that he wants “a food forest to spread from 38th and Chicago to all cities”. I saw Clifton again today, unloading supplies from his truck. I told him I was very interested in his speech yesterday and asked him if he would give an update on his efforts. He was kind enough to talk to me for about a half hour, and he even took me to see the garden beds he was constructing, along with his first shipment of plants. He told me he had been having trouble getting material sponsors to commit to donations given the questionable legality of building large elevated gardens on a public street. However, he was excited to report that he’d just gotten some help from the mayor, and secured the permits he needed to move the project forward. Clifton is currently working with local businesses and the city to establish a permanent garden and co-op here, which he intends to name the “Victory Gardens Food Forest”. (6-10-20) This is Marvin. Marvin is the man keeping it clean. When I met Marvin today, he was alternating between snatching litter with a trash picker, and trying to track down the owner of a lost set of car keys. He was a busy man on a hot day. I asked Marvin what compels him to do this work. “George Floyd brought me here”, he said. He then went on to tell me that he’s been trying to tidy things up since the beginning of the uprising. “We cleaned up during the riots here. We were cleaning Lake Street. While they were looting I was cleaning.” Marvin also told me that he had recently enlisted a small crew of volunteers to help expand his efforts. Today, he and his team started by cleaning up the bus stops in the community. (6-15-20) This is Emmanuel, Jax, and their two bunnies, Mochi and Misa. Emmanuel and Jax are a radiantly kind animal-loving couple who have been regularly bringing their bunnies to the Brooklyn Center Police Department after protests have erupted there following the murder of Daunte Wright. When I first saw the bunnies, they had a group of smiling children showering them with love and cuddles. Mochi and Misa have proved a big hit with protesters and National Gaurd alike, and in the process, they’ve become a bit of an internet sensation on Twitter and Instagram where they are lovingly known as the “Riot Bunnies”.Jax, Emmanuel, and I had a nice long conversation about the protests, bunny ownership, and the total of 14 animals that they care for. They told me that they bring the bunnies to the Police Department “To spread positivity and smiles. It’s hard times. Nobody ever sees a bunny on a leash, so we want to spread that uniqueness. Everyone loves the bunnies. We didn’t think anything about it. We just thought we’ll bring them and see what happens.”If you’d like to meet Mochi and Misa AKA “the riot bunnies”, Emmanuel told me that they can be found around 1PM by the National Guard and then between 5-8PM walking around the protest site. The bunnies are put away daily at 8PM.Brooklyn Center Police Department (4-17-21) Minneapolis Deputy Chief of Staff Art Knight poses with a young protester while visiting the memorial with Police Chief Arrandondo. (5-31-20) This is Raylin. Raylin is a 16-year-old boy from the community. Raylin’s father, Raymond, asked me to take this photograph of his son. He told me that he brought his son here so that he could “show him how history is changing and what’s going on here. I want to show him how everyone is coming together to end police brutality and the killings”. He added that it was especially important for him to teach his son about the dangers of police brutality because he’s special needs. (6-9-20) A protester wearing an “I CAN’T BREATHE” facemask at Nicollet at 34th and Nicollet. (5-30-20) This is Dr. Antony Stately, his two sons, and his sister, Lisa. Dr. Stately is the CEO of the Native American Community Clinic here in South Minneapolis. He told me that he grew up in this neighborhood and that it was important to show his sons what is happening. “I want my sons to understand the broader political implication of what’s going on”, he said. “I want my sons to be able to say they were here, and I want them to be able to explain to my grandchildren what happened here.” He then reminded me that we are currently on Dakota land and that his sons are Dakota warriors, or “akitica”, in Lakota. He told me that “It is their duty to come here and protect the community”. (6-14-20) This is Anna and Connor, the artists behind the creation of “Say Their Names Cemetery”. This installation, a block west of the memorial site on Chicago Avenue, features over a hundred (and counting) tombstones to honor some of the countless BIPOC victims of lethal police violence. When I met Anna and Connor, they were working on replacing the cardboard tombstones with more durable plastic ones. They were working quickly because there was a candlelight vigil scheduled for a couple hours later that evening. When I first saw this installation, it literally took my breath away. There’s a deep visceral reaction to what they’ve helped to create here, and I urge everyone visiting this site to do so with a measure of deference and solemnity. (6-19-20) A fellow photojournalist pauses to have their picture taken just before the march. Bottineau Field Park, Minneapolis (6-6-20) This is Nora and her daughter Nery. I met Nora and her daughter today at George Floyd Square where they and a couple dozen or so other painters were working on a couple large banners. Nora runs a local organization called “ALMA (Alliance for Latinx Minnesota Artists). ALMA’s mission statement is “To facilitate alliances among the spectrum of Minnesotan Latinx experiences in order to make visible our diverse artistic voices and practices.” Nora told me that they “work in the community as much as we can to provide healing and this (banner painting) is a way to do that.”When I asked Nora what drove her to come out and participate in this painting event, she replied instantly “my daughter”. “I cannot heal without educating children at a time like now”, she continued. “Everything is in their front yard and we need to start educating children at a young age about racism, white supremacy, and police violence. This is a playful and creative way to create statements for our children and community.”https://www.allianceoflatinxmnartists.comGeorge Floyd Square (4-17-21) This is Paul. I’ve noticed Paul many times over the months tending to the memorials. While these various memorials at George Floyd Square have changed a bit over the year, I’ve always noticed just how well cared for they’ve been. For nearly a year now, throughout all the countless storms and even over the course of the harsh Minnesota Winter, the gardens, greenhouse, murals, and everything else in the Square have been very well maintained. I was interested to know more about the work this has entailed, and Paul was more than happy to chat with me for a while. Paul is a seasoned gardener in the community with experience working with sacred sites, and has been volunteering his time attending to the memorial at George Floyd Square since last May when George Floyd was killed. “I care for my mother who is 97”, Paul told me. “I can’t afford to get COVID. The demonstrations didn’t call to me, so I came here to help in this way.”Paul went on to describe the various duties that come with tending to the memorial. Along with organizing the offerings, maintaining the greenhouse, and cycling out the flowers, Paul also helps to preserve many of the signage that is left at the site. He showed me the nearby bus stop where many of the signs reside until they are picked up and brought off-site by the preservation team. Paul also showed me the new gallery space at the neighboring Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center where a selection of signage is currently being displayed. Paul also impressed onto me just how deeply he appreciates the sensitivity of this work. “I’ve learned to respect offerings as a contribution to a collaborative community sacred space and not something I, or anybody else, is in charge of”, he said. “An empty liquor bottle gets recycled, whereas a full one is an offering. A cigarette butt is not an offering, but an unsmoked cigarette or a ritual offering of tobacco is… It’s not about making it look how I want it, it’s about making it look tended for. If we were to stay here as long as we have, it had to look dignified and cared for and it has to remain respectful to George and all that have been lost to police violence.”George Floyd Square (3-23-2021) Protesters pose in front of a car fire across from the 3rd Precinct. (5-28-20) This is Faith. I first saw Faith before the march yesterday, where she was giving the crowd a one-woman dance show to a Lizzo song at George Floyd square. Faith is a much better dancer than I am (see comments). I later met Faith after the long march from 38th and Chicago arrived at (what’s left of) the 3rd Police Precinct, where I noticed her sharing a tearful embrace with her friend upon their arrival. The moment was especially moving to me, so afterwards I asked if I could have a chat with her. Faith very graciously said yes. We talked briefly about what it was like to be back in this space, and as I tend to do with this series, I finished our conversation by asking what brought her here today. “My family and the community I’ve seen here after the death of George Floyd”, she quickly replied. “My younger brother is a trans male and I have a nephew who’s mixed race. They’re only going to see the black portion. I’m a first-gen immigrant, so if I’m not going to do it for my offspring, who will?” (8-01-20) Two street medics standing in front of the medical bus at 38th and Chicago. (6-4-20) I met these sisters tonight at 38th and Chicago. Their bold sign caught my eye, so I asked if I could take their portrait, and record a brief statement on why they came out tonight. They said they were “Surprised this didn’t happen earlier. We ourselves have been victims of police brutality, and have suffered PTSD. Every black person has this collective PTSD. And I’m really proud of Minneapolis for not taking any more shit, and for being a catalyst for a worldwide movement.” (6-10-20) A protester with two megaphones poses for a portrait at the intersection of 38th and Chicago. (6-5-20) This is Suny. I met Suny and his two daughters today at “Say Their Names Cemetery”. This new memorial space features over a hundred headstones for BIPOC Americans killed by police, and was recently installed by activists a block from the intersection where George Floyd was killed. When I asked Suny why he came here, he told me that he was “unsure what the history books would write about this moment, so I wanted to bring his daughters here so that they could experience it for themselves.” He told me that his youngest is only 8 years old, and then he pointed to the grave for Aiyana Jones, and explained that she was only 7 when she was killed in 2010 during a raid by Detroit police. (6-9-20) A father and his child listen to a speech given from the roof of the Speedway on 38th and Chicago (6-3-20) This is Margaret. I met Margaret today as she was demonstrating with a small group of protesters outside of the West Gate of the Hennepin County Government Center where the trial of Derek Chauvin was on it’s second day. The Government Center itself and the surrounding county buildings have been barricaded with large, reinforced metal fencing, barb wire, and the National Guard. The public is currently not allowed anywhere on the building grounds. Margaret and the other protesters were stationed across the street, chanting as the gates were opened periodically to allow official vehicles onto the grounds, each time offering a fleeting glimpse of the armored humvees and National Guard personnel who were securing the building.When I asked Margaret what brought her out today, she told me that she had known George Floyd personally, and then decried what had happened to him. “What they did was really wrong”, she said. “How are you going to sit on someone’s neck while they tell you that they can’t breathe? I want justice for George.”She went on to tell me that she was concerned about the potential outcome for the trial as well, and what it might mean for the city going forward. “All this violence needs to stop and it’s not going to stop until we get justice. I would hate to see them let him off on a real lesser charge. I believe in my heart all kinds of stuff would break off in the city. We’re peaceful down here. The young ones will learn that from the activists.”Hennepin County Government Center (3-9-21) A young man stands in front of a graffitied wall across from the place where George Floyd was murdered. (5-27-20) This is Billy and his adorable dog, Willow. Billy is a gifted photographer, George Floyd Square community member, and all-around awesome human being. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Billy over the course of the past 11 months and am honored to consider him a friend.Billy contributes in many ways to the community here. One of his “duties” is the changing of the text on gas station sign, an act that would take on even greater importance and historical significance yesterday. For about a month now, he has hand-painted and put up the letters that counted down the days until the trial, the days the trial has been in session, and finally, the eagerly awaited results. This picture was taken shortly before the final change, as he and others were listening to his car stereo, awaiting the verdict announcement. We chatted for a bit about what the final sign would read in the event of a guilty verdict. It was clear that he had put a great deal of thought into what the final text would read, and the underlying message it would send. In the end, the sign read “JUSTICE SERVED?”.In recalling his thought process for why he chose this text, he told me “The question mark is because there are three more officers to be convicted. Also because to some black folks that have waited forever to get justice, this might not be justice and it opens up the conversation.” – George Floyd Square (Verdict Day 4-20-21) Two new graduates at 38th and Chicago. They had a graduation walk down Chicago Ave, over the names of POC folk murdered by police. There was applause from the people at the memorial as they passed, and their father was noticeably proud. (6-7-20) This is Godwill. Godwill is an artist, recent High School graduate, and soon-to-be student at Augsburg University. I ran into Godwill on Lake Street, where he was working on a new mural, one of many hundred that have sprung up throughout the Twin Cities since the killing of George Floyd. When I asked Godwill what compelled him to come to create this mural today, he told me “I’m here for the movement that has been going on, and for the tough times that black people have faced and are still facing. I just want my mural to send a message to the people. I want my mural to reach a greater audience of people, and uptown seems to be a great place to do that”. (7-3-20) The man on the right is A (first initial). A is a soon-to-be former officer of the Indiana State Patrol. When I first saw A today, he was schooling these 5 young people from the community about what happened to George Floyd, as well as some of the broader issues of accountability in policing throughout America. A is a HUGE Prince fan, and he makes the pilgrimage to Minnesota every year to pay homage (typically in April). This year, however, his first stop was 38th and Chicago. He told me that he has felt especially conflicted about his career in law enforcement for the past year, and the events of the past month had been the “nail in the coffin”. In fact, he told me that “visiting the (say their names) cemetery around the corner is what solidified my position to quit the force.” A went on to summarize his feelings by telling me that “If you take any oath of office and you disgrace or go against your oath, there should be no question about getting punished. If a doctor or nurse takes an oath, and if he or she does anything wrong, they get punished. What makes police officers any different?“ (6-28-20) Protesters pose in front of a car fire across from the 3rd Precinct. (5-28-20) This is NTK I saw NTK today trimming the grass around the over 100 headstones of “Say Their Names Cemetery”. This seemed like an arduous task, especially in a high-top leg boot. I waited for NTK to be finished with his work, and then struck up a conversation. He told me that he had touched base with Anna (one of the two artists previously highlighted in this series) and asked her if anyone had been regularly keeping the grass trimmed. When he discovered nobody was yet doing this, he decided to take it upon himself to come and help maintain the grounds. When I asked NTK what compelled him to come to volunteer his time to do this work, he replied “People need to remember. People need to see this and not forget. It’s mind-boggling how many bodies are here, and even more so how many aren’t represented. How many haven’t been captured on video? It’s a small part, but there’s a lot of headstones. So any part I can do to maintain the grounds so people can see it for what it is.” (6-30-20) This is CJ. Today, when I first saw CJ, he was installing an AC unit into a window of the Medic bus at 38th and Chicago. CJ happens to live on the block, and works as a maintenance man for a number of the buildings surrounding the memorial intersection. When I asked CJ what motivated him to volunteer his time as a handyman, he responded “I’m part of the neighborhood. I’m here to help folks, because that’s what you do. A little blood, sweat, and tears, and away you go.” (6-16-20) A group of young protesters stay on guard past curfew at 38th and Chicago (6-1-20) This is Amelia. Amelia is the founder of Emergency Arts, a business that provides consulting and creative resources to support communities in crisis. With help from Dance Esteem and local business Homespun, Amelia is here distributing Emergency Arts Boxes to the community. When I asked what she’s trying to achieve with these Emergency Arts Boxes, she replied that she hopes they “help to bring solidarity and healing”, and that she’s here to “stand up for justice for all of us that are impacted by the killing of George Floyd, and to fight the public health emergency of racism.” (6-13-20) This is Kelly. I met Kelly and her two daughters today as she was, most impressively, taking care of her two children while simultaneously cooking meals for protesters and community members. When I asked Kelly what brought her out here to 38th and Chicago, she told me that she had initially come after George Floyd’s death to pray with her community. As the movement evolved, she began coming each day to cook meals for folks, because “food is community, so we’re here to share in that community.” (6-10-20) I met this fellow photographer this afternoon at 38th and Chicago. He told me he’d be fine having his portrait taken for this, under the condition I took one with his camera as well. There was no story he wanted to share publicly with me. I felt like his vibe was a story onto itself, though. (6-13-20) A young girl poses in front of a wall of signs at Cup Foods. The heart was her idea. (6-3-20) This is Kaitlin. I saw Kaitlin today at George Floyd Square as she was doing some work on the greenhouse. I’ve always been interested to know more about how the beloved greenhouse came to be, so I decided to chat with her a moment to see if I could learn more. As it turned out, Kaitlin was the designer and co-builder!Kaitlin was there today with the other builder adapting the greenhouse and beginning to change the ventilation system. As someone with professional greenhouse experience, she explained to me how the greenhouse was initially designed for the harsh Minnesota winter and now that warmer weather is here, some additional ventilation would need to be added. She also explained the practical challenges of this. Chicago Ave acts as a bit of a wind tunnel. Also, the greenhouse is currently wrapped in Kente cloth, and any new ventilation would have to work around this cloth so as to “keep black culture visible and present” in the design.We also talked a bit about the Greenhouse’s initial planning and the unique challenges posed when constructing a greenhouse on an active city street. “The caretakers came to a decision that they wanted a greenhouse to be built and they raised the money for it”, she told me. “Once the money was there, we had a budget. Me, Janelle and the caretakers discussed size and placement, how we were gonna heat it, and how do we make it a functioning greenhouse. Me and another builder sat down and created a design that we could easily build in the street with other builders who aren’t experienced framers. It took a couple days to get it all up and then there were a couple tweaks here and there. The street isn’t flat so it took some shimmying and problem solving.”It became apparent to me that the construction and maintenance of this greenhouse was no simple or easy job. When I asked Kaitlin what motivated her to spend her time and energy making this greenhouse, she responded “Everything that has happened during the uprising and the trauma of the community over the years is very palpable and it has consumed me. I can’t look away. On top of that, this is protest. I’ve always been a protester and this is a very unique and effective protest and it’s still happening everyday and that’s important to participate in. On top of all the radical protesting, this is also a community center where community members can coexist with eachother and it’s addicting to be a part of a community like that. I can’t resist coming here and planting veggies in the garden and inviting the local kids to come learn and participate in that… The fact that it is centered around black liberation and love of black people makes it all the more important. This combination of things has taken a deep root in my heart and it means a lot.George Floyd Square (4-11-2021) A restaurant worker on Hennepin and Lake has a conversation through the order “window” of his storefront. (6-2-20) This is Kadence. Kadence is a new volunteer at the 38th and Chicago. Today, they were acting as a greeter/ambassador, working to make sure folks were masked up and sanitized before they entered the space. “We’re asking people to put masks on because this is a vulnerable population. POC people have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic”. Kadence also explained that part of the ambassador’s duties were also to make sure that white folk visiting understand the significance and sacred quality of this space before they enter, and to hand out pamphlets that encourage folks (especially white folks) to behave with a degree of solemnity and respect. “This is a healing space and not a tourist attraction”, they told me. “Most white folks get that, but some need extra guidance.” (6-14-20) This is Mustache Jim. Jim came to the George Floyd memorial to take silver gelatin prints of demonstrators. He told me that it was important that he “be here with the people as we go through this together” (6-7-20) This is Marshall. When I met Marshall yesterday, he was tending to the yurt near the Northern entrance to the memorial. He told me that this yurt has been to a number of places. Most recently, it was at Standing Rock, ND during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. He then told me that it was brought here so that they could “bring people into the yurt to heal”. When I asked Marshall to tell me what compelled him personally to come down to 38th and Chicago, he told me “I haven’t seen this since Standing Rock. We can’t have this violence anymore for our children. I’m here to bring solidarity and healing”. (6-19-20) The new medic coordinator at 38th and Chicago poses for a portrait in front of her medic bus. She was excited to talk about her team’s strategy, show me the bus, and explain all the improvements that are planned. When it’s repainted, it will be known as the George Floyd Memorial Medic Bus. (6-2-20) This is Francis. When I asked Francis what brought him here today, he said that when he saw the George Floyd tape he thought “that could have been me”. He then told me that he had gotten pulled over last week and that when the white officer approached his car, he began shaking noticeably. The police officer asked why he was shaking, and he replied “I don’t know”. He told me that this is “a fear instilled in all black people when they are pulled over by a white officer”. (6-9-20) A protester offering free hugs at the intersection of 38th and Chicago. (6-5-20) This is Karen.Throughout the course of this portrait series, I’ve been immeasurably grateful to each and every person who has taken the time to chat with me. However, the 15 minutes of so I was able to spend with Karen yesterday was even more of a gift because, as her time with us limited.Karen has stage 4 cancer and her last wish was to visit George Floyd Square. When I first saw Karen, her and her daughter Kristin were being given a tour of the space by some of the community members. Before it was our time to chat together, MN AG Keith Ellison and her were having what seemed like a powerful conversation as he took a break from registering folks to vote. It was a sunny and beautiful day at George Floyd Square.I asked Karen how being at the square made her feel. “this has been a very spiritual experience for me.”, she said. “The sense of community down here is amazing. There’s so much love and dedication people are showing. Maybe things had to get so much worse before they could get any better.”We also chatted about her career as a qualified rehabilitation consultant, or “scorned government worker”, as she put it, where she worked with disabled and unemployed folks from the inner city. “I had a career that involved me in getting people good jobs and careers and was able to help in that way”, she told me.When I asked Karen why it was so important for her to come see George Floyd Square before she left us, she responded “Since I was a small child I’ve been interested in racial justice. I had a mom that taught the right things. It’s a very high priority for me and I wish I could be here to see the change.”George Floyd Square (5-8-21) This is Reggie. I met Reggie today on Plymouth Avenue, where he had joined forces with a number of artists to paint “Black Lives Matter” on the asphalt of the road. Organized by the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery, this sprawling mural will feature a different design for each letter, created by these individual artists. Reggie was kind enough to chat with me a while about his piece, which makes up the letter A in “Matter”. I noticed that his painting featured a face I didn’t recognize, so I asked him who this was. It was then I learned about James Scurlock. James Scurlock was a 22-year-old black man who was shot to death while participating in a BLM march, by a white bar named Jacob, in Reggie’s hometown of Omaha. Gardner, whose conceal and carry permit was expired at the time of the shooting, was later released by the county attorney, who concluded that Gardner acted in self-defense. On June 3rd, after calls from the victim’s family, as well as a Nebraska State Senator, the county attorney agreed to call a grand jury, and appoint a special prosecutor to the case. “James Spurlock was murdered by an Ex-Marine/Trump supporter”, Reggie told me. “He was shot that Saturday after the protest ramped up in Omaha. The guy got off with no charges, even though he had an expired permit. So much unfair stuff. My main thing is that this story isn’t making much a narrative, because there no law enforcement involved, but it’s just as tragic.” (7-18-20) This is Kimberly. Kimberly’s son was shot and killed by Saint Paul Police in 2017. Yesterday afternoon, I listened to Kimberly’s powerful speech in front of the walled-off 1st precinct downtown, where she asked the white folk in the crowd to go home, and take a look at their children. I ran into Kimberly back at the “People’s Plaza” after the march, and walked with her a few blocks back to what I presume was her hotel for the night. I asked her if she would mind if I included her story and photograph in this gallery, and she agreed. I asked if I may include a quote. Without missing a beat, she replied “Police violence was a pandemic before Coronavirus. They are the real thugs, cartels, bullies, gangsters, and drug dealers. Ain’t no gangsters like the power of the people though, because the power of the people don’t stop. It’s gangster when you can stand together with the people. That mother fucker Derek Chauvin woke up the minute he killed George Floyd. We gonna hear Chauvin Scream mama from a prison cell.” (6-11-20) This is Mary (on the right) with a special return appearance by fan favorite, Eliza the gatekeeper (on the left). Mary is the owner of the Thrifty Nifty, a thrift and consignment shop in Saint Paul off of University and Grotto in Midway. On Thursday, May 28th, Mary’s store was looted during the riots while she was here at 38th and Chicago volunteering and serving meals to the community. Despite all this, Mary continues to return to support the community at 38th and Chicago. Mary talked with me a while about how hard it’s been as a small business owner these past few months. Her store has been closed for 4 months because of the Coronavirus pandemic, and she finds herself now having to cover the cost of repairing and restocking her store, without the help of insurance. She applied for help from both the Neighborhood Development Center and the City of Saint Paul through the new Bridge Fund program. She was denied from both. “I’ve only had this store for two years, but I’m a very known store in the community”, she told me. “The community loves shopping at my store, and they are very upset. I love my store, and I want to continue. So I’m here selling T-shirts to try and raise funds. (7-2-20) This is Sirad. Sirad is an organizer from Boston who helped put together the “National Mother’s March Against Police Violence”, a weekend of retreats and demonstrations that brought mothers of victims of police violence from at least 28 states here to Minneapolis last weekend. When I met Sirad on Tuesday, she was adding some names to “Mourning Passage”, which is the long list of victims that extends nearly one city block North of the memorial intersection. Evidently, when she visited the memorial with some of the mothers that flew in for the march, many were upset that their children’s names weren’t included. She took down the names and promised to paint them before she left town. When I asked Sirad what motivates her to do this work, she replied “I do this because I can. Because I’m alive. I feel a duty to the families and I feel a duty to the people who were killed. If anything ever happened to me, I would want the people to fight in every way for my legacy. So I’m doing this for everybody that I love, and to help make right in the world. This could save lives.” (7-14-20) A protester prepares for less-lethal munitions as the national guard prepares to clear the 3rd precinct. (5-29-20) This is Angela. I met Angela yesterday outside of the Brooklyn Center Police Department during a rally demanding justice for Daunte Wright, a 20 year-old man who was shot to death down the road 3 days prior. She had an energy about her as she sat quiet on the perimeter of the crowd, dressed as though she came to the March ready for an aggressive police response.When I asked her what brought her out to the march with a sign that read “Fuck 12 Justice 4 Daunte”, she replied that Daunte was a friend of her grandson, and his death has really effected her. “I’m 65 years old and I’d like to see a change before I die.”, she said. “I’d like to see a change in this systematic racism that is causing people to hate us and kill us. I’m sick of it. It’s gotta change. We’ve got to make a better world.”Brooklyn Center, MN (4-13-21) A woman from the community and a police officer look for common ground at 38th and Chicago where George Floyd was killed. (5-31-20) This is Dr. Remi.Dr. Remi is a public health professional and founder of 846S (website linked below). This wonderful non-profit focuses on youth led initiatives for violence prevention and safety, mental health, and wellness. Dr. Remi and I talked for a great while about a number of his organization’s initiatives, from a youth-led podcast and mental health referrals, to distributing survival kits for homeless youth and a plan to construct a large mental health and wellness community center in South Minneapolis. We talked about the creation of the organization. “We have a collective desire to rebuild this community and we all have a story to tell”, he told me. “My story started last June. My son and I were in this very spot when he had a mental breakdown… He was volunteering here doing security. He went to therapy afterwards… When he saw the beauty of therapy, he wanted all his friends to have access to it. So that’s why we started this organization 8:46, which symbolizes the time Chauvin was on his neck. It’s a youth-led organization. The youth lead it and I’m the secretary. The org will focus on black mental health and solving problems from the youth perspective, and I was quite intrigued by that. So, we set up this stage to engage people to talk about mental health and make it part of the current conversations.However, most of our conversation centered around what Dr. Remi was doing here, seated on one of three chairs overlooking Say Their Names Cemetary. Evidently, Dr. Remi comes here often to provide his services and mental health counseling to those who would like someone to talk to. Sometimes he makes appointments, but most times he just comes and hopes for spontaneous, organic sessions. “It’s been an interesting journey for all of us. We have a collective desire to rebuild this community and we all have a story to tell… The questions they ask is ‘Why do they kill us?’, ‘What did we do wrong?’, and ‘When will that stop?’. Those three questions have haunted me as a black father. As a father, you want to provide safety, but the color of your skin isn’t something you put in a storage room, you wear it. It’s yours and it makes you a target for others. Since I have a background in public mental health, I shifted gear to come help in this way.”One part of our conversation that I found particularly interesting was Dr. Remi’s background as an immigrant from West Africa’s Ivory Coast, and how the culture surrounding mental health there has guided his approach to community healing. “In the African tradition, you have the baobab tree whereby there was always an elder sitting at the tree. People will stop by and talk to that person, no appointment needed. I was always intrigued by that. The notion was to have someone there in the community who you can go talk to. This is my urban baobab tree.”Please visit http://www.846s.org to find out how you can help turn Dr. Remi’s dream of a mental health community center into a reality.George Floyd Square (5-11-21) This is Erick. I saw Erick working on a graffiti mural at 38th and Chicago. When I asked what brought him here, he responded that he was here to “be apart of the community and make his voice heard”. (6-8-20) A woman poses for a portrait in between taking civil war era tintype photographs for demonstrators at 38th and Chicago. Prints were free for POC folk. White folk could have one made if they show a receipt for a donation of at least $60 dollars to a local black-led nonprofit. (6-5-10) “Do you want to take pictures of me blowing my bubbles?!” – young girl at 38th and Chicago, across the street from where George Floyd was killed by MPD (6-1-20) Native Dancers observe a moment of silence at the George Floyd Memorial. Children in the community pose for a photograph as they watch the demonstrations at 38th and Chicago. (5-26-20) This is Fatumata. I met Fatumata outside of the FBI building in Brooklyn Center yesterday while attending a march demanding justice for Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old man who had been shot and killed by police in Brooklyn Center 3 days prior. I was interested to know more about why she chose to write this sign and what it meant to her, so I asked if she’d like to chat a bit.Fatumata immigrated to the United States 2 years ago after her parents assured her she could have a better life in America. Over the two years that she’s lived here, she’s grown disillusioned with the promise of the American dream and her place in her new country. “All I see is black people get killed”, she said. “I came here for a better life and this is not the dream I was promised”.Brooklyn Center, MN (4-13-21) A store owner serves customers from her bordered-up window on Nicollet Ave. (6-1-20) This is Rock. When I saw Rock today, he struck me as a man with a purpose. So I asked what brought him to the memorial today. He told me that this was a “historic moment” and that he was here to “make my contribution here by pointing young black men in the right direction by helping them start their own businesses”. It turns out Rock works for a local organization called “Men Among Men Society Inc.”, a group whose mission is to help provide young black men with business opportunities so that they may have the resources to start their own ventures. (6-19-20) An older man screams at the crowd “BLM is terrorists”, a white man in attendance rushes to plead with him saying “They aren’t terrorists. I support Black Lives Matter now, and it took me way too long to get here”. (5-31-20) The grill master pauses a moment to have his portrait taken at 38th and Chicago. (6-3-20) An artist pauses work on their mural to have a portrait taken. Many hundreds of art pieces have gone up on storefronts throughout the Twin Cities. I spoke with the person organizing the work for this block, and she told me that once these boards come down, will be auctioned off to support local nonprofits in the area. (Lake and Hennepin, 6-6-20) A family poses for a photograph while distributing food and water to demonstrators near 38th and Chicago. (6-1-20) This is Ovadiel. I first met Ovadiel at George Floyd Square back in the Summer, when I took his portrait as he was playing his conga for some folks gathered on the corner. We chatted only very briefly, as this was before I began incorporating interviews into this series. I ran into him again last week, but this time we chatted for a good half hour or so. We shared a wonderful conversation about all sorts of things related to the movement, the history of black struggle in America, as well as his remarkable personal story.Ovadiel is a veteran who grew up on Chicago’s South Side in the 60’s. He recalled to me turbulent events in his early life like the assassination of Fred Hampton at the Chicago headquarters of the Black Panther Party, as well as the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, and how these events shaped his world as a young black man. He also spoke of the white flight era he witnessed in Chicago at the time, as well as the especially brazen and racist redlining practices in the city that led to a lack of opportunity in predominantly black neighborhoods, and how some of his neighbors would openly fly swastika flags on their property.Ovadiel also spoke of his family’s rich history of activism and struggle. His mother came up a share cropper who then went on to become an activist and organizer. She worked to register black voters, clean up their neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side neighborhood, and his sister became one of only a few black students allowed to attend the local university after it was first desegregated.When we began talking about the present day Black Lives Matter movement and it’s place in the long fight for equality, he told me that “It’s taking us out of our comfort Zone. Out of of chaos comes order. If we didn’t have these turbulent times, we’d never get to a place to have order. It’s difficult and challenging, but we’ll get there. We’re all butterflies. First we gotta bust out of our chrysalis. We gotta shed this thing like a snake sheds his skin”George Floyd SquareQuote (4-17-21)Portrait (6-3-20) Two young artists pause working on their storefront mural to have a portrait taken. Lake and Lyndale (6-6-20) A protester has a chalking/listening session with a young girl at 38th and Chicago. (6-3-20) A security volunteer holds guard in front of barricades at the 38th and Chicago memorial. (6-1-20) This is Patricia and her two daughters. I saw Patricia and her two daughters today at 38th and Chicago as they were waiting for the youth-led march from the memorial to the police precinct to begin. Patricia has 4 children, the oldest of whom is 15. When I asked Patricia what brought her out to the march today, she told me that the death of George Floyd has “brought reality to my children. It’s opened their eyes. They brought me out here because we want change”. (7-11-20) Scooter, pictured on the left told me that “We need justice and equality. We’ve been dealing with oppression for far too long. We shouldn’t have to fight for our God-given rights. But if we don’t stand up, they’ll keep putting their knees on our necks. Kill racism, not us! Justice for George Floyd! Black Lives Matter!” This is Ini (top right) and her team of artists. I met Ini today at 38th and Chicago as she and her team were working on a new mural on the storefront of a still open BBQ restaurant. Ini recently created an online tutoring program to help BIPOC children “close the digital divide and education gap that is exacerbated because of COVID19.” Ini went on to tell me that Minnesota is one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to racial inequity in education. “I worry that this will be a lost year”, she said. “Kids are grieving the end of their way of life. I’m not a therapist, but I can help them process what’s happening through art.” (6-27-20) A young girl takes a knee and raises her fist during a moment of silence for George Floyd (6-4-20) This is Sean and D. When I saw Sean and D yesterday, they were positioned like this and looking way too cool not to have a (consensual) portrait taken. When I asked Sean why he came to 38th and Chicago today, he told me that he came “to support the community. Justice for black people, you know. Justice to every race, really. No race is bad. We need to come together as humans. The lions and tigers are all together chilling, but then we as humans don’t stick together. We’re the animals that bring more destruction than anything else.” (6-23-20) Community members make art on the asphalt of Chicago Ave. (6-4-20) A father and son contribute to a community memorial at the site of George Floyd’s death (5-27-20) A singalong with a community member, and a man from Germany, who brings this piano with him from revolution to revolution. We chatted about the time he spent with the piano in the Gezi Park protests of 2013 in Turkey. (6-5-20) Protesters observe a moment of silence at the intersection of 38th and Chicago, where George Floyd was killed. (6-1-20) This is Trish. This is Trish. Trish has been on the ground since day one of the protests. As I try to do with these portraits, I asked if she would feel comfortable sharing publicly what brings her out into the streets. Without missing a beat, she responded “The black American struggle that has gone on for years and years and years and years.” (6-10-20) 3 protesters hold the onramp shortly after a big rig truck flies through the crowd on the 35W bridge over the Mississippi River. (5-31-20) A volunteer takes a break to rest during a hot day at 38th and Chicago (6-1-20) A volunteer runs a free food table at 38th and Chicago. (6-7-20) A new mural being created to honor George Floyd at the corner of Hennepin and Lake. Throughout Minneapolis, businesses have boarded up their storefronts, and in doing so have created a mass canvas across the city. Artists have made use of this space, and many new murals are going up each day. (6-02-20) A “lean on me” sing/play along with community members, and a man from Germany, who brings this piano with him from revolution to revolution. We chatted about the time he spent with the piano in the Gezi Park protests of 2013 in Turkey. (6-5-20) A couple embraces each other after dropping flowers at George Floyd’s mural. (6-4-20) Street medic team on duty at 38th and Chicago. (6-5-20) This is Mayah and Sierra. Today I attended a march from Hennepin County Government Center, to the 1st Police Precinct downtown. After the march had ended, I saw Mayah and Sierra hanging out at back at “the People’s Plaza”. Their sign caught my eye, so I asked if I could take their portraits. When I asked why they had been taking to the streets, they told me that they were “Sick of their people getting killed. We keep protesting, but it keeps happening again and again and again. We want to make sure we can sustain this movement.” (6-11-20) A fellow photojournalist stands for a portrait at the Minnesota State Capitol while wearing a bullet-proof vest. Press have been widely arrested and targeted with less-lethal munitions during the protests. (6-02-20) A security volunteer watching the stage at 38th and Chicago. (6-4-20) A march security volunteer poses for a portrait on 20th and University (6-6-20) A young protester holds a sign inside of Cub Foods near Lake and Hiawatha. (5-28-20) This is Luke. Luke is a local musician and community member who has been spending time holding down the South Gate at George Floyd Square. I met Luke today while exiting the Square, and we spoke for a good while about what working in the music industry has been like the past year, his duties here at the Square, and some misconceptions folks on the outside have about it. “People ask me when the space will be opened”, he told me. “But we didn’t install these barricades, the city did. We couldn’t move them even if we wanted to. You could take away these barricades, but the people will still be here holding it down. They’re symbolic, but they don’t make the memorial. It’s the people that do”.When I asked him what the average day looks like, he told me that “I don’t consider myself defense or security. The day to day stuff is walking and talking with people. That’s what we do here. People come here for a lot of different reasons. People come up who are a victim of police violence. There are also people that come with malicious intent and we walk and talk with them too, hopefully out of the space. We have community members that stay here and we have two meetings each day. It’s be important to be together and see each other. There’s a saying ‘Go next door instead of going on NextDoor’”.George Floyd Square (4-16-21) Children take a knee and raise a fist during a moment of silence for George Floyd. (6-4-20) A shattered door window near the 3rd precinct. (5-29-20) This is Zach. When I visited 38th and Chicago this afternoon, I saw that the garden beds Clifton (a man previously featured in this series) and I had discussed a couple days prior was already being constructed along Chicago Ave. A crew of volunteers were shoveling soil from the back of a pickup truck to fill the beds. This is where I met Zach. Zach is a crew supervisor Spark-Y, a local gardening initiative non-profit in the Twin Cities working with Clifton to establish these community gardens. I asked Zach to summarize his involvement and mission here. He told me that he had been “invited by Cliff as a rep of the 38th and Floyd community. Out of nowhere, he called last Friday, the day before I happened to be doing a victory garden kit giveaway event with spark-Y and the African American community response team. Cliff called the day before that handout and told about a garden project the Ojibwe tribe and the community were working on around 38th and Floyd, to plant a new seed for justice. I came to support the community vision personally, in hopes that the seed could be respected, honored, and nurtured by healing family from this moment forward.” (6-12-20) A protester holds a sign outside the 3rd precinct as fire diffuses sunlight in the background. (5-28-20) A young girl at the Minnesota State Capitol (5-31-20) A community member holds a sign at Chicago and 38th. (5-26-20) A protester hands out flowers at the 5th precinct. (5-30-20) A young protester holding the line shortly before the area of the 3rd precinct was cleared by the National Guard. (5-29-20) A protester poses with a graffitied electrical box near 38th and Chicago. (5-26-20) A group of allies hold signs at a rally near 34th and Nicollet. (5-30-20) A group of children participate in a demonstration at the Minnesota State Capitol. (6-02-20) A woman and her daughter agree to have their portrait taken in front of the George Floyd Memorial. The woman was too ill to speak, but she did agree to the portrait part of this project. I can’t help but think of the risk in coming here, and how important this must then be for her as a high-risk individual in the age of COVID19. (6-7-20) I got to see my old friend Farrington! Farrington is working on creating a program to promote mental health awareness in his community. (6-7-20) Dancing while waving burning sage around the 38th and Chicago memorial. (6-4-20) This is Jody. When I saw Jody today at 38th and Chicago, he was donating some of his (entirely legal) cannabis plants to the memorial garden. He told me that he and his wife, Abbie, own a cannabis greenhouse and hemp cultivation outfit called “Kinni Hemp Co” in River Falls, WI. When I had mentioned that I enjoy fly fishing on the Kinnickinnic River, he enthusiastically replied that he flyfishes as well, and that his greenhouse property goes right up to some of the best fishing holes on the whole river. He invited me to come flyfish with him and enjoy some of his fresh cannabis. It was then that I realized just how great a decision it was to talk with Jody. I asked Jody what compels him to come all the way up from River Falls to donate his plants to the community. He replied “I’m here for my kids. I don’t just want to show them the world as it is now, I want to show them that we can make change, that we can come together and make change the right way. It’s hard to see anyone of color be held to a different standard than me as a 42-year-old white man. That doesn’t seem right.” (7-2-20) A group of motorcyclists on Chicago Avenue ride through the march in support. (6-26-20) A local ER nurse, volunteering here as a street medic, poses for a picture in front of the new mobile clinic at 38th and Chicago. (6-2-20) An activist dances on Chicago Ave as demonstrators watch. (6-3-20) A security volunteer patrols in front of the march near Powderhorn Park. (6-26-20) This is Vinee. When I saw Vinee at 38th and Chicago yesterday, she was performing her poetry for folks before they entered the memorial intersection. She asked almost everyone entering if they’d like to hear her poem. Everyone I saw her ask agreed, and attentively listened. Vinee wrote the poem (included below) at age 16 after reading the book “Beloved” by Toni Morrison. I asked her if I could include the poem in this post, and she graciously provided me the text. I’ll include her IG handle at the end for anyone who would like to follow her work. My mother’s love “You love me like I never thought you could You wrote your name on my bedroom walls My blood My blood stained on your fingertips The whips on your back you refused for them to be imprinted all over my body The rope wrapped around your neck was so tight you had to kill me I understand Why you slit my throat You loved me I died cuz you love me I’m angry I miss you But YOU killed me! I’m back I’m here In flesh I read I’ve read stories I seen I’ve seen movies I can smell the burning flesh of my people I can see them swinging I can hear their screams as if they’re still screaming. I can feel their fear as if they’re still scared of white We rather skip school or go just to act like fools Like books wasn’t one of the things our ancestors DIED for… We are Conditioned to envy lighter skin Taught to hate our brown eyes Hide them behind hazel contacts We were KILLED to escape To escape Master, whips, chains Master, whips, chains Master, whips, chains White men coming into my bedroom Filling my insides with that semen While my husband And my kids were forced to watch them. We were killed to escape! When our oppressors Our abusers came Not all of us could get away My mother looked at me Slice my baby girl’s throat or let her live her life in slavery? Oh! I had to GO! With NO second thought, I was gone But my mother couldn’t have known That I would be reborn into a more high-tech society. Where now the MEDIA is my MASTER My own people are my WHIPS I LIVE with chains around my throat around my mind Cuz intelligence is a “white” trait Ignorance Ignorance Ignorance Filled my insides My mother wrote FREEDOM ON my bedroom walls My blood My blood stained on her palms I died in her arms My three Three-year-old eyes. No longer staring up at her in confusion But staring up at her … Lifeless. Toni Morrison-Beloved “ – Vinee (6-22-20) Local children run a food table, one of a great many that sprung up to take care of the community during the unrest. This is Donnie. Today, community members at 38th and Chicago were protesting the opening of Cup Foods. Cup Foods was the store that called the police on George Floyd, and many in the community wish to see it remain closed. That’s where I met Donnie. Donnie was playing his snare drum while sitting on the curb, helping to keep the rhythm while community members chanted “Keep Cup Closed! Keep Cup Closed!” I asked Donnie what motivated him to come out with his snare drum, to which he replied “I’ve been protesting since the day it happened. I came to incorporate my drums and bring the energy up. It adds to what’s happening, and music has always helped the pain. When you’re marching, chanting the same things over and over, it helps people feel it more, and it makes it harder for others to tune it out”. (8-3-20) This is J. When I first saw J, he was planting a flower in the roundabout memorial garden under the big fist statue. I was interested to know his story, so I struck up a conversation.J is an indigenous water protector from Sioux City, Iowa, and veteran of Standing Rock who recently quit his job so that he could travel to Northern Minnesota and join the fight against Enbridge’s new Line 3 pipeline. He decided to make a stop in Minneapolis on the way so that he could visit George Floyd Square and pay his respects. I asked him how he felt no that he was in the square. “Sadness”, he replied. “I mostly feel sadness. It’s mixed emotions. Sadness, anger, joy but also hope. I feel very hopeful. This is a moment in history. Everyone can learn from this tragedy.”He went on to tell me why he felt especially called to come and show his support as an indigenous person. “Indigenous people stand solidarity with BLM and the black community as we too fight the same system.” He continued, “Indigenous people are also victims of police brutality and I think it’s important as a person of color to come and stand together.”George Floyd Square (4-11-2021) Two community members and a puppy sit and watch the march go by, the day after George Floyd was killed. (5-26-20) This is Adrienne. I met Adrienne today at 38th and Chicago. She seemed to be on a solo chalking mission with purpose, so I sat down and talked with her a bit. she told me that she used to live here in Minneapolis, but has been living in the Seattle area for the past 5 years, and that had been her first visit back to Minneapolis since moving away. When I asked Adrienne what compelled her to come to chalk today, she responded “I came to pay respects to George. I worked in this neighborhood when I lived here (in Minneapolis). My friend (back in Washington) does a lot of police terror work on behalf of Bryson and André, so they asked me to come spend some time chalking their names here. I’m in the process of writing ‘Justice for André Thompson and Bryson Chaplin’. They were survivors of police violence in Olympia Washington.” Two protesters listen to speeches from mothers who have lost children at the hands of police. Mueller Park, Minneapolis. (7-24-20) This is Vicki and her son, Liam. I ran into Vicki and Liam the day after the verdict at George Floyd Square, where they were laying flowers at the spot of George’s murder. They had just come from laying flowers at Vicki’s parent’s graves, at Fort Snelling. They bought two sets of flowers so that they could pay respects here as well. She told me “We got extra flowers because they belong here too”.When I asked Vicki what she felt about the verdict, she responded, “I think the word I’ve heard repeated so often is relief, relief that finally justice was served in this case. It feels transitional. With the work, the people, and the momentum, it feels like positive change can happen. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt that. I grew up in the 60’s and I was an activist then. I thought at this time in my life I would see a different world, but today I feel hopeful.”George Floyd Square (4-21-21) A father and child await a speech from the Floyd family on the day of the verdict. He told me that he was “happy that a big change is finally starting”. George Floyd Square (Verdict Day 4-20-21) A young protester holds a sign at 38th and Chicago. (5-26-20) This is Aarah. When I met Aarah, she was beginning a painting of the long list of people killed by police that stretches long down Chicago Ave up to the intersection. I asked what compelled her to come and paint this. She responded, “as someone who paints, and I choose not to use the word artist, because we are all creatives. And as a painter, I come here striving to understand and advance creation through a sensitivity that painting affords me”. (6-9-20) 44.977753 -93.265011 AdvertisementShare this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:Like Loading...
2 thoughts on “Portraits of the Minneapolis Uprising”
Great pics. I would say maybe change up angles and subjects don’t necessarily need to always be centered. You are very talented and capturing the moment is most important. You did that!!
Thanks for the critique, Tony! I genuinely appreciate the feedback!