After the Death of George Floyd

I remember being arrested in Minneapolis.
I remember being afraid of the police —
feeling their hands,
rough and squeezing,
and tingling with frustration,
(I was the last of eighty-nine)
on my upper arms,
and my heels bouncing on the steps.

I could breathe all the way.
I could sing even.

Nobody was going to kneel on me.
Nobody was going to take my breath away.

Not then and not now.

I cannot become black in America.
I cannot speak
for anyone black in America.

Not now and not ever.

But I have enough to do
to shake the heart into white folks,
to last me
as long as I can catch my breath.

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14 Responses to After the Death of George Floyd

  1. mbmankin says:

    I would love to know the story behind your arrest in Minneapolis. So much work left to be done. – mb

  2. Maren says:

    It was during the Vietnam war. I went to Carleton just south of the Twin Cities. We were convicted after a three day jury trial (Walter Mondale testified for us) and I had only a 5 day sentence. Think what the difference would have been …

  3. Deane Gray says:

    I am so glad you posted this on FB! This is unbelievable and heartbreaking. And getting worse. What is the matter with us?! I am 70 and was part of the late 60’s rebellions. 3-day jury trial!! I am very surprised that you were sentenced – well, maybe not, thinking back.

  4. I used to work with someone whose Asian brother kept getting picked up by Minneapolis police in that era. Most of the state is in despair today over George Floyd’s death. So senseless and lacking in humanity. Facebook posts are flooded with stories and images. Today the Governor and state attorney General used the daily Covid19 briefing to talk about it.

    • Maren says:

      I went to college in Minnesota and all of my mother’s family come from there and it is just so contrary to all of my memories.

  5. Very, very interesting. I’m sure there are hundreds, if not thousands of people who can relate to such fine treatment, but in my case and the others that look like me, not so much.

    • Maren says:

      And that is the horror of it — the difference between rough treatment and deadly treatment, and the deep suspicion that we have that for every such situation that is witnessed there may be ten that happen where they are not seen.

  6. Muftiah Martin Kimiti says:

    Thank you

  7. Cláudia says:

    So heartbreaking. Beautiful writing.

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