I’m writing to you after spending the day with many Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Education Support Professionals members, showing appreciation and care for the city that we love so much. The city that our students call home. The city that many of our educators call home. The city that is crying for justice for George Floyd and is literally still burning.
Floyd was unarmed, handcuffed and lying face down on the ground. Three officers pinned him to the ground, and one pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck and kept it there for more than eight minutes. The fourth officer stood over them and did nothing to intervene. Floyd begged for his life, as did concerned citizens on the street. The cries for mercy went unheard, and cellphone video captured the last minutes of Floyd’s life.
The emotions that engulfed Minneapolis in flames this week are demonstrations of pain and cries for justice. These uprisings symbolize the hurt, fear and anger that are boiling over in the face of anti-blackness and continued racial and social injustice.
Today, our union helped to clean up the mess that white supremacists from out of state created. We swept up rubble, hauled away debris, and brought supplies to those who need them. We donated food, we passed out water, and we continued to peacefully protest.
Throughout the weekend, our members are speaking at events, marching in solidarity, holding community gatherings, getting food to our families, finding shelter for our students, and demanding that all four of George Floyd's murderers be put in jail.
We will continue to rally with organizations from all over the country who are sending their leaders to ground zero, our city.
We will not sleep, we will not stop, until justice is served for George.
Together, we can make meaning of this historic moment. We can talk to our friends and neighbors with unwavering clarity about the death of George Floyd and the systems—not just the individual cops—that have traumatized black people.
We are seeking justice not just for Floyd but for all who continue to fight for social and racial justice while being labeled as “thugs” and despite the fact that President Trump has called for the shooting of citizens exercising their constitutional rights.
All four officers should have been charged immediately, and the fact that they were able to walk freely, while Floyd’s family plans his funeral, is an injustice that has, rightly so, pushed people to the edge.
Will you join your union family in demanding immediate charges against the other three officers involved in his death?