May 26th, 2020

Community,

Today we are devastated to have learned of the untimely death of George Floyd caused by the senseless acts of officers of the Minneapolis Police Department. We at AALF are actively following the developments of this specific case. We are in Solidarity with our brothers and sisters in stating that #BLACKLIVESMATTER! Thank you to community Leaders such as Nekima Levy Armstrong (Racial Justice Movement), Leslie Redmond (Mpls NAACP), Al Flowers, Stephen Belton (Urban League Twin Cities), Rev. Jerry McAfee (New Salem Missionary Baptist Church), and others that stepped forward immediately to demand justice for George Floyd.

There are countless others stepping up to play a critical role in not only bringing justice to this horrific loss of life but also to change the trajectory that this threat continues to have on our community’s livelihood. We also want to acknowledge the actions of Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey in the firing of officers involved in this specific case, and the steps taken to investigate this murder. More will need to be done to ensure justice is served in this moment and the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice for all.

Even while lives are lost, we are encouraged to see the swift and impactful action of leaders throughout our community. Many of the very same individuals and organizations that have stood for ensuring safety and justice throughout the COVID-19 crisis are recognizing this as a critical moment in the legacy of our community. Those we have acknowledged and those who go unsung are now as always – stepping up and answering the call to ensure that the tradition of wrongdoing against our community that goes without consequence comes to an end.

This is not a moment for a hashtag and then move on. We are dying. Physically we are being killed by individuals who subscribe to White Body Supremacy, who look down upon our Black Bodies and see a threat that must be eliminated. Society is killing us because those in the middle that hold power and privilege continue to listen and not act. They think the problem is too big or complex to take the drastic and controversial steps necessary to stop this evil. Psychologically we are being killed, seeing images of our brothers and sisters being lynched by those that take an oath to serve and protect as well those that subscribe to a white supremacy mindset. Emotionally we are dying because one can only take so much pain without resolution that numbness and amputation of feeling sets in.

How will we move forward with what is left in the balance after the initial shock of the latest incidents? We need to march because the oppressor needs to hear us. We need to protest because the silent need to know we cannot take it anymore. We need to heal because there is pain that cannot be left alone. We need to work with systems because it needs to know there will never be a perfect time or pace for change; we need it now.

Devastating moments such as this have impacted our community several times over in current and historical events alike. With each moment comes a catalyst that activates new leadership which can bring massive energy and much needed support to the uplift of Black people in the Twin Cities. As you dive into your own leadership and exercise your willingness to engage this work be sure to do so in a way that keeps you healthy, in a way that keeps you whole, and in a way that is thorough – this is what keeps our collective work as positively impactful as it can be. Now is a time for us to come together as a community to support our Activists, Elected and Appointed Officials, Builders, and everyone else that does the tireless work to end these senseless acts. We need everyone in! You cannot sit on the sideline silent anymore, or even worse, criticize others’ actions. We need your voice to call out the evil and state the need for change. We all play a role.

Call to Action:

  • Listen to yourself and take care of yourself. Take a moment to heal. This is a traumatic event in your life on top of an already traumatic period in all our lives. Do not allow your emotions to overrun your personal wellbeing. If you need, there are resources to help you process your pain.
  • Check on your friends and family and make sure they are ok.
  • Make room for our healers to place their hands and their words on those that are in pain.
  • Support Activists that are out raising our voices loud so all can hear. Be in Solidarity and provide solutions, so their words and actions are not in vain.
  • Tell your local officials (i.e. The Minneapolis Police Chief, Mayor of Minneapolis, Governor) how you feel. Let them know you are in pain, and you demand they do something about it, NOW.

Contribute your Time, Talent, and/or Treasure to the leaders and organizations that are working toward change. AALF is actively reaching out to organizations and leaders across our community to be a resource and partner. Become a Contributor Today!

In Solidarity,

Marcus Owens
AALF, Executive Director

The African American Leadership Forum (AALF) is comprised of over 1,500 African Americans who self-identify as Thought Leaders, Influencers, Builders, Ambassadors. Collaboratively, these leaders volunteer their time, talents and treasure to support our mission to build a just society that works well for everyone.