MINNEAPOLIS - The scene June 5 was one of contrasts at MIGIZI Communications, Inc.
, a non-profit Native youth education center in South Minneapolis. In front of its empty and flame-scorched building, colorful prayer flags waved and smudge smoke drifted on the breeze, as hundreds of staffers, students and community members gathered for a unity and healing ceremony.
The building was one of many in the area destroyed by fires that broke out amidst protests following the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer.
Members of the American Indian Movement (AIM), created in 1968 in response to police brutality against American Indians living in the Twin Cities, were given curfew exemption to help patrol their neighborhoods during the recent protests.
AIM patrol fought into the night to protect MIGIZI from multiple nearby fires, but flames eventually spread from an adjacent building and overwhelmed it.
Despite their curfew exemption, AIM members who stood outside the Little Earth of United Tribes’ housing complex on May 30, were targeted by the National Guard and Minnesota State Police using rubber bullets and flash grenades, according to sources on the scene.
Several MIGIZI students at the healing event said they do not trust the Minneapolis police, one recalling watching family members being arrested when she was young. Students seemed united in their hopes that recent events lead to lasting change.
Ambersky Stevens, a MIGIZI student, was one of several who spoke at the event.
“I watch my friends march for a purpose. I’ve seen students spend late nights patrolling the streets and taking care of our communities. I see so many of us cleaning the streets in the wake of all this destruction: This will be what defines us,” she said.
“Now we are heard, we are seen. Not because of the violence and the looting, but because we are standing united.”
Afterwards, Stevens said she hopes the events of the past weeks makes a difference.
“We hope for change,” she said. “It shouldn’t have taken a man to die in order for people to understand.”
Contact Justine Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright permission Native Sun News Today
Join the Conversation