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This Morning, We Mourn

A Reflection from McKnight President Tonya Allen

This morning, we mourn. We cry. We wail. We are angry. We are tired. We are heartbroken.

We hold the pain of Katie Wright, who will never see her son return home.

We are mortified by the trauma and realization that Daunte’s girlfriend wore his blood and body matter after a police officer indiscriminately shot inside the car while she was seated next to him.

We experience the bubbling anger that flows through the veins of the protestors.

We are incredulous that chemicals were projected towards homes with children’s toys sitting on balconies.

We suffer the indignity of Caron Nazario being pulled over for a routine traffic stop—maligned, maced, and threatened at gunpoint.

We ready ourselves for the assassination of Daunte’s life—not by the police officer, that is done already—but by the media.

We note the irony that law enforcement and political officials can devise an Operation Safety Net to respond to protests, but not offer a safety net for black men who come into their custody—55 have died since 2000 in Minnesota alone.

We rejoice in the quietness of the obligatory period that people will allow us to mourn, and we prepare for the snapback, when people feel it is appropriate again to question Daunte, Ahmaud, George, Philando, Jamar’s and so many others’ value and humanity, and question if this is really a thing.

We await the rationale for why the officer deserved to be judge, jury, and executioner, because they will blame Daunte’s death on an anomaly of his behavior rather than on the systemic pattern of bias, racism and state-sponsored persecution.

We expect the retort that we are anti-police, when in actuality we are anti-bias and anti-death while in police custody, and we are pro-policing that allows communities to be safe, whole and civilized.

We cringe at the agonizing truth that hurt people hurt people and things. We don’t condone violence and destruction, nor do we condone the cries that property is more important than people and their pain.

We are afraid and then we remember we are not powerless—we are powerful beyond measure and we can harness our energy to change things, to chart a new course for Minnesota, to challenge systemic racism, to channel our light, and to champion our future.

The future isn’t finished—so let’s get to work creating the equitable and just world that we deserve. We do it tomorrow, because this morning we mourn.

April 2021