Recent media coverage about police incidents and calls to open the memorial site at George Floyd Square (38th and Chicago) to traffic are missing some key points about the Square and fail to answer some basic questions of logic.
1) What is the correlation between the lack of car and bus traffic and crime? Crime is up all over the city, are there barricades up everywhere?
2) The increase in crime happening around the Square is highly suspect. MPD and the city need a narrative. They will make sure they have it.
3) The 'criminal element' at the square have operated in the alley behind Cup for 30 years. This is not new.
4) The police know who every member of that gang is, have arrested and released several, many times over this past year. Again the crime in the area is not new and has nothing to do with the barricades. The police/ fire department and EMS have not been prevented from entering the square. I have been there many times and have seen it myself.
5) The vast majority of the community there are holding that space as a protest zone, a place of mourning and a place of Black Empowerment.
6) The individuals that make up the gang in that neighborhood are part of that community, born and raised. They went to our public schools, they are our former students. They are the children and grandchildren of our neighbors. I see their humanity, do you?
7) The gangs exist in our communities because of institutionalized racism and White Supremacy in all of our systems. We are responsible for that. We must hold ourselves and all of our institutions accountable.
8) The 24 Demands of GFS (Justice Resolution .001) asks for economic opportunity/jobs and affordable housing for people around those four corners. Take care of those demands and the pipeline to the gangs will begin to close.
9) Because of recent rhetoric by the MPD Chief, I am scared for the community at the square. Yes, all of them. I have been there many many times and always felt safe and welcome. We should be learning from the community there not trying to destroy it.
Roosevelt High School teacher