The second set of videos from the Public Safety Community Forum organized by the Minneapolis City Council Committee on Public Safety and Emergency Management (PSEM) delves into more controversial and stark issues brought forth by the community gathered in the Davis Center. To be blunt, these clips capture the exchanges that were likely the bases for mainstream media outlets to characterize the forum as a tense shouting match filled with confrontation and threats. I see it much differently. It is not surprising that people living the reality of everyday violence in the community speak loudly when they stand up from the chairs they had to bring to the table to speak what they know to be true. John Thompson, prominent speaker in Part 5, often acknowledging that he is the proverbial angry black man, then asking me why I am not as angry as he. John, this is how I channel my anger. I try to use the privilege afforded me by this warped society to magnify the messages that will shake the foundation of those privileges. But I am not so much angry, as disappointed by the ruling white authoritarian religious right, and any Catholic kid knows that disappointment can be much heavier than rage.
Part 5: Top Issue/Police & Violence centers on the debate fomented by Al Flowers that sets gun violence at odds with police brutality. I do not endorse Flowers’ hierarchical perspective. We are immersed in a system of injustice and racial biases, difficult as it may be, the solutions must be implemented systemically. The sequential approach is inadequate to the challenge. I’m with Thompson, promote both approaches and focus on bringing more resources to the neighborhoods affected by violence.
A glimpse into the day-to-day reality of potential police violence is the substance of Part 6: Authority Suit by James Badue-El. He tells the story of what he witnessed in Robbinsdale at a traffic stop heading off the rails. James is a powerful speaker. Listen and learn.
Most of the people that spoke at the forum were focused on gun violence, enacted by police or others. A lone voice rose to bring gentrification to the discussion. This is the greatest challenge for a city founded in a capitalist culture and growing in that environment. The more we improve Minneapolis, the more it will be worth. Gentrification, or displacement, was an issue in the race for Mayor. Part 7 puts the question squarely on Mayor Frey. Maybe we will get an answer at the next forum, because this question was roundly ignored on March 28.
One of the main themes reiterated by the people at the forum was accountability. This is a huge part of New Hughes, too. Part 8 of our series brings that point home.
Along with the previous post, we’ve covered 8 of 10 parts from the March 28 Community Forum. The next meeting is tomorrow – April 10 at Sabathani Center in South Minneapolis.