Community unites to recover, remember

Park students, residents work to help city damaged by riots

Marta Hill and Talia Lissauer

After attending various protests, donating to the cause and helping paint a mural commemorating George Floyd, senior Miriam Hope said while it is unfair to judge someone for the ways they choose to act, she feels people must do their part to help Minneapolis recover. 

“Don’t be a bystander, come stand out and help how you can. Whether it’s going to protests and being on those front lines or whether it’s just coming in the next day and cleaning and bringing supplies,” Hope said. “Literally anything helps, but it’s better than just not participating because how can you avoid this, it’s right here.”

Following the death of George Floyd, community members have joined together to help Minneapolis recover. People are donating food, money and time to clean up the city and help those in need. For junior Michael Boxley-Harmon this meant taking a car full of supplies to a church. Boxley-Harmon said he gathered supplies after posting on his social media asking for canned goods or other donations. 

“I only went protesting one day because it got so hectic and all the stores got broken into during the rioting,” Boxley-Harmon said. “People don’t have a place to go so I thought it was a calling card, if I can’t do this then let me do something instead of just posting online.”

When Aquila teacher Jane Ward heard one of her student’s family’s business had been damaged during the protest, she started a GoFundMe to help the family recover.

“I’m really grateful for the way everybody has shared this out, I think that’s what’s made it successful,” Ward said. “I’ve noticed a lot of our young people sharing it right away and reaching their parents and then their neighbors and I think the sharing of the message and the help has been what’s really given the family a lot of hope and feel a lot of love from our community to them.”

According to Hope, she saw the current turbulent state of Minneapolis as an opportunity to act on the thoughts she has had for so long. 

“I think for a lot of people because it’s happening in such close proximity to us, it feels so much more real,” Hope said. “But for me, it’s like this is your chance, you’ve talked this talk for all these years, you’ve done what you can to support your community but now we are in need, you’re an adult, do something.”

Seeing the amount of generosity and help offered to Minneapolis in the last two weeks gives her hope for change, according to Ward.

“I have seen so many young people in action and that’s been really inspiring and it brings me so much happiness to see some of the young people moving to do for this family or for the Black Lives Matter movement, in response to the injustice of our own community member, George Floyd. I’m so happy to see that kind of reaction within a community gives me a lot of hope,” Ward said.

As a cisgendered white woman, it’s an odd feeling to be so scared in my city, and being able to experience that, not even close to the same level of people of color feel. It really helps me empathize and I mean I can’t even compare our fears”

— Miriam Hope

Although Boxley-Harmon feels like the country has united, he is disappointed that it takes a tragedy for that to happen.

“This shouldn’t be something that brings us together. This is a tragedy but it shouldn’t bring them together because the country and the world should be united no matter what, and I feel like at this point everyone is in agreement and everyone has a peaceful kind of time right now where everyone is just kind of getting along and understanding one another’s point of view,” Boxley-Harmon said. 

According to Hope, she was on Interstate 35W when a semi truck drove into a peaceful protest May 31. Hope said that moment gave her more compassion than ever for what people of color experience on a daily basis.

“As a cisgendered white woman, it’s an odd feeling to be so scared in my city, and being able to experience that, not even close to the same level of people of color feel. It really helps me empathize and I mean I can’t even compare our fears,” Hope said. “Being able to experience that in just a small way helped me understand this is something they deal with 24/7. They don’t get a break, it is always happening. I couldn’t say that I’m an ally without going out and experiencing these things.”