We at the Land Stewardship Project are shocked, saddened, and outraged at the news that a black man died while in police custody Monday night, less than three blocks from the Minneapolis office of the Land Stewardship Project. Video footage shows a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for several minutes after he was apprehended for allegedly committing a non-violent offense. Other officers assisted in restraining Floyd and another stood by watching. Despite Floyd’s protests that he could not breathe, the police officer continued to press down on his neck and he eventually became unresponsive. He was later pronounced dead.
This is yet another sickening example of how deadly racism is in America. The role of police officers and other public servants is to make our communities safer for everyone, no matter the color of their skin. Unfortunately, racism is ingrained in all of our institutions, and it has yet again claimed a victim.
Our thoughts are with George Floyd’s family and the community. In this case, the local community where this occurred includes a neighborhood where LSP staff and members live and work. This tragedy has brought close to home an irrefutable fact: Racism is in direct opposition to healthy communities. Racism is real and deadly. It is present in Minnesota and across the country.
Part of the Land Stewardship Project’s mission is to develop healthy communities for everyone, no exceptions. Racist violence is a clear violation of our strongly held values that every person has value that cannot be earned or taken away. At the core of LSP’s work is our drive to create a society based on sustainability. Racism, along with the violence it spawns, is not sustainable. To see someone’s life held in such disregard is unacceptable and harms us all. We must continue to demand changes and call for accountability.
We join our allies in calling for the officers involved in this deadly incident to be held accountable. We also demand accountability from the Minneapolis Police Department and all of our institutions which, directly or indirectly, create the environment where such tragedies are all too commonplace.
We need change and we need justice now. Getting that justice begins with standing together to express outrage and to push for change.