First Five Fragments for Friday May 29, 2020
First Five Fragments for Friday is your weekly offering of writing prompts.
This week has been a terrible week in my beloved Minneapolis. City of my birth. A place where excellent music, art, and literature are made. A place where being black carries a big risk.
A white cop killed a black man in South Minneapolis this week. A knee to the man's neck. A refusal to let him up when he couldn't breathe. That man's name was George Floyd. Say it out loud. George Floyd. He had a family. He had friends. He had a life. He was not doing anything violent. All the violence in the last five minutes of George Floyd's life was in that white cop's knee and maybe in his heart. His name I'm not printing.
We are erupting in protest, anger, sadness, and fear. The pandemic has not stopped thousands of masked Twin Cities residents from pouring into the streets and demanding justice; rather, it's added to the collective feeling that everything is absolutely out of control. We aren't nearly as stable a society as we thought.
That said, I am not clear what to offer this week. There is so much to say and so many ways to say it; do any of us need writing prompts at a time like this?
I think not. Speak out in all the ways you can about injustice. Unfairness. Lack of compassion. Prejudice. Try and do it without destroying something that we all need, like grocery stores. As I write this, my daughter who works at the Roseville Target just texted me to say their store has been evacuated, barricaded, cops sent to the scene. Angry protestors, sparked by George Floyd's murder - say his name one more time - appeared to be on their way to the Roseville Target store. They've been busy these past couple of days. Parts of South Minneapolis now look like a war zone. The National Guard has been called up. I'm not sure as of this moment whether the protestors will get all the way to the first ring suburb of Roseville, which borders both Minneapolis and St. Paul. By the time you read this post, we'll all know.
What we won't know is how long it's going to take to rid our society of the deep roots of racial injustice and selfish behaviors. Maybe we'll never be able to completely eradicate these traits any more than we can wipe out all the viruses that threaten human lives.
But we can damn well do better. Use that as your writing prompt this week. Make it so.