Coming to you all from the epicenter of a civil rights revolution, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since the creation of Hive, I don’t think I’ve missed a night of posting. It’s been an entire week since my last post, and given the circumstances, I’m going to forgive myself on that. May 25th, George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin. By now, everyone’s seen the video. I don’t need to go in to the details. Following his murder, the city’s anger and outrage boiled over creating imagery that’ll forever define 2020. COVID-19 masks and Molotov cocktails.
Another thing I don’t really want to get in to is the faults and virtues of protestors, riots, looters, etc. Everyone has their opinion, and by now, most people are dug in on where they stand. There have been billions of shared memes endorsing those opinions. One thing I will mention, however, is that as a person on the ground in the city that this has all began, there is much of the story not being told by FOX, CNN and MSNBC. In the blockchain community, I’m confident that most of us get our news from sources outside of those conglomerate media machines, but I digress. Just know that much of the Hong Kong style intent to insight violence by those meant to “enforce peace” is in full effect here in the Twin Cities.
Firstly, I have to preface this by saying nothing I say or describe here is in any way meant to diminish the loss of Mr. Floyd and the countless lives lost prior, or since his own. For the last five nights, we’ve been a curfew mandated by our Mayor and Governor. It has become a police state, with military helicopters flying over my house, armored cars and National Guard marching through our streets with AR-15’s. Videos of the police shooting citizens on their porches with rubber bullets. It is as Orwellian as you could possibly imagine. The ripple effect in cities across the world is the same with most protestors, as is the police response.
Personally, I’ve been aiding my friends on the front lines. I’ve gone to a few protests, but I have to balance the desire to be in direct action, and responsible for my son. Getting seriously hurt, killed or arrested is not a possibility for me. It would have catastrophic consequences for my son’s future. Instead, I’m giving rides, food, money, equipment, even letting a friend borrow my work camera for neighborhood watch/surveillance. My calls, social media reach and signatures on petitions are also effective tools in this, even if my direct action is limited. Also, my role as a committee member of the Minneapolis Green Zone Task force is more important than ever, as part of our responsibility is allocating $100K annually to Minneapolis programs and city initiatives.
I’ve been wanting to take my son to Mr. Floyd’s memorial on 38th and Chicago, but until today, it didn’t feel like a responsible decision. Something showed up on my Instagram feed calling for signatures at a petition to recall Mike Freeman, the Union Leader for the MPD. Apparently, at a certain number of signatures, a recall for a new election is automatic. It was being held at the 38th and Chicago, where George Floyd was killed, and after some consideration, @guthrie and I did go. It was a truly somber, but beautiful space. It isn’t what you’re seeing on the TV. Thousands of mourners peacefully gathered poignantly celebrating his life and the revolution that was sparked by it being taken before his time.
I did ask him while we were there, what he thought of it all. He said it was sad, but felt like everyone that loved each other. Being there embodied everything that made me decide to move my entire life, on my thirtieth birthday, from Scranton, PA to Minneapolis. We left, and I felt good about our decision to go. On the way home, we drove past @guthrie’s half brothers’ home in South Minneapolis. I said, “...look to your right.”. He glanced out the window and saw a dozen National Guard troops holding automatic weapons. To that, he said “Okay. Now I feel scared.”. To me, an 8 year old perfectly summed up my feelings and what actually scares me.
Remember, this is all on top of a pandemic! We were all adjusting to a new normal, and now there is already a new, far more frightening “normal”. I’ve been focused on protection my family, and my home. Last night, a thunderstorm swept through Minneapolis, and just before sundown, it cleared up. Curfew [...I fucking hate that word in how demeaning it is, like we’re a bunch of fucking children] was 10:00p.m. I took my drone out, took a chance knowing it could be potentially be shot down, and made a few videos of our city. It’s a documentation of a moment in our city’s painful history of racial violence and what we're doing to go to change it.