SEAD Statement on George Floyd
May 28, 2020
We’re grieving over the murder of fellow community member George Floyd, who’s last breath was brutally taken by Minneapolis Police. What had transpired during a peaceful protest became another site of state violence. We’re grappling with the pain and violence that our Black, Indigenous, and communities of color continue to experience every single day. We know this won’t end until we acknowledge our shared humanity and the heavy work that lies ahead as we move towards a transformative and just future that we all imagine and desperately need. As an organization based in North Minneapolis working with our Southeast Asian diaspora, we know the historical trauma and social oppression that’s used as a divisive tool between our marginalized communities. We need self-reflection, course correction, and internal healing in order to understand how we benefit from and participate in anti-Black racism. We emphasize that even in the time of coronavirus and heightened Asian racism, the real pandemic has always been White supremacy and the systems that keep its culture of fear and hate to thrive.
Let’s always question why these systems are harming us more than they’re supposed to help us. Let’s have the difficult conversations we don’t want to have in our neighborhoods about what’s going on. Let’s call out every form of racism without dismissing the lived experiences and multiple realities of our Southeast Asian and other BIPOC communities. Let’s work towards community-led solutions that are powered by those most impacted. We ask that our beloved Southeast Asian communities not be complacent bystanders anymore, to use love and healing as a choice of weapon, and to be on the right side of history by siding with humanity first. George Floyd can’t breathe anymore, but we still can.
We offer everyone this recipe for solidarity, allyship, and growth:
- Do Your Homework. There’s a wealth of resources, articles, and books for free online. Read, learn, process, and reflect in solo and safe spaces. The burden of self education is on each and every one of us and not on BIPOC. First, learn about MPD’s 150+ year history in order to understand our present state of power relations at mpd150.com/report/past and why communities in Minneapolis have demanded that the city divest in policing and invest in community. Second, read up on solidarity work of #APIforBlackLives and existing API+Black movers such as BUFU (www.bufubyusforus.com).
- Actively Listen. Community expertise is abundant. Hold space for those impacted. Pay attention, ask them what they need, listen up, and follow their lead.
- Meaningfully Show Up. You can’t be everything to everyone but when you’re ready, show up where you think it matters most and within your capacity; whether that’s on social media, making calls, or on the streets. Here are some critical work to support and follow for action steps: Reclaim the Block (www.reclaimtheblock.org), Critical Resistance (criticalresistance.org), Black Visions (www.blackvisionsmn.org), Movement Generation (movementgeneration.org), and Unicorn Riot (unicornriot.ninja); to name a few.
- Lean on Community. Find your safe space and safe friends. Nothing’s easy to do on our own but collectively, in community, we’re a much bigger force to be reckoned with.
- Replenish Before Returning. To our activist community and those who care for them, remember that you are loved, appreciated, and needed in this work as your whole self. Take time and space to replenish before you return, otherwise you’ll fall victim to burnout.
And whatever you do in the name of justice and liberation, try to be safe out there.
— Chanida Phaengdara Potter, executive director & community architect