"You begin sweeping up the world when you sweep up your own front steps. This is my version of sweeping off my own front steps.” -Stacia Goodman.
Thank you Stacia, Patty, and all of the dozen or so other not-a-group band of compatriots who spoke with me today at Bde Maka Ska Parkway and W. Lake Street in Minneapolis, and thank you all for the silence you’ve held every Monday since June for the man who was undefensibly murdered on May 25th of this year - George Floyd. It was touching and heartening that the community has generally been honking their support for you.
They chose Mondays at sunset, because it was on a Monday that Floyd's life was ended. Their start time has shifted from Mondays at 8 to 6 as the nights have grown longer, but will soon be partnering their Monday Moment of Silence with one on Saturday too.
The group observes a strict agreement of rules to de-escalate, thank the chastisers (they really do that), and above all spread the love that people have for George.
They meet 15 minutes to 6PM to review the rules, then move to their socially distanced 6 foot increment down both sides of W. Lake, and stand quietly with their "Black Lives, Matter" sign, "Honk to End Racism" sign, "Vote 2 End Racism Now" sign or their "Racism is a Pandemic" sign. For 15 minutes they welcome the love and occasional hate yelled from passing cars until the sun sets on W. Lake Street. They return raised fists, shake their picket signs in gratitude to honkers, and smile with their eyes behind facemasks.
Today, participants got a couple “Blue Lives Matter” yelled from passing cars, but they also got double-honked by a passing cop car (In solidarity) and several passers-by who stopped to say how much it meant to them what these people were doing here.
“There’s usually one or two people that have something to say, but we are not here to have a discussion with them,” Explains non-group co-founder, Patty Schmidtz. “We’re just about being silent, being respectful - Being present to honor George Floyd’s life, to honor all lives, and to remember that racial justice really matters.”
Non-group co-founder Stacia Goodman agreed, “It really is in reverence and deep remembrance and sorrow, of all the black and brown people whose lives have been taken by white supremacists, by the bad cops… and it's been happening for over 400 years.”
One participant shared her hope that one day the street would be completely lined with others like them at sunset. Stacia Goodman confided a secret hope of hers - that they continue like this for a complete year. Participant Amelia simply hopes that we see racism, and that we change it.