GEORGE FLOYD

GEORGE FLOYD

On may 25 th , 2020 another police killing of an unarmed black man was caught on a smart phone video that was just as shocking and gruesome as many others that came before it. His name was George Floyd. As always, people were outraged, and many took to the streets to peacefully protest. George Floyd was killed on a busy intersection in South Minneapolis. A very diverse and a progressive neighborhood that prides itself on welcoming people from all backgrounds with love. Just few days before the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, an EMT in Louisville Kentucky, was killed by police who were executing a “no-knock” warrant in her home as she slept in her bed. A week before that, an unarmed black man was gunned down by a white neighborhood watch for jogging in the wrong neighborhood. Even before George Floyd’s death, the rage, and the mistrust in the American justice system among blacks in America was at an all-time high; and then George Floyd got murdered. George pled for his life for a long eight and half minutes that was now seen around the world. He literally begged the officer to get off his neck as he could not breathe. This one was different, this was not a bullet to the head, instead, it was a long and a slow murder that lasted for a horrific eight and half minutes as the victim and bystanders begged the officer to let the man breathe.
 

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The frustration in the black community reached a boiling point as the officer who kneeled on George Floyd’s neck was not arrested right away. To the credit of the Minneapolis Police department, instead of putting the officers involved in the incident on an administrative leave which is usually the case in most police killings, all four officers were fired the same day the video surfaced.
 
All eyes were on Minneapolis as the video circulated throughout the nation very rapidly. People of all colors, backgrounds, races, and religions came together to protest the killing of George Floyd. The Somali community played a significant role in both the protest and the cleanup afterwards. Thousands of young Somali men and women stood in the front lines to protest police brutality. Even though the youngsters from Somali descent were not organized, their young voices had to be heard. Many that we spoke to said that they were protesting not only police brutality but the fact that they are African Americans as well and will always stand with the African American cause.
 

Mohamed Khayse who held a sign that said, “ Stop Killing Us” spoke to one of our reporters and he said, “ I am protesting against the cops, the politicians, my teachers, and even my parents. I want everyone to know that I am black and will always fight for the rights of my people”. Many in the Somali community, specially the older folks, feel like they do not mingle well with the African American community in Minnesota. Khayse added, “I was born in this country and I consider myself African American even if no one else considers me that”.
 
Another young lady that did not want to reveal her name said, “African Americans fought and are still fighting for the rights that we enjoy in America everyday. I am able to to wear my hijab, go to school, keep a job because black people marched and protested for everything”. The enthusiasm among the young Somali generation was unrelenting during the George Floyd protests. They made signs, they raised money, they clashed with the police, some got teared gassed, others had to be taken to the hospital after being hit with non-lethal bean bags by the police.
 

Young Somalis in MN have protested police brutality before during both the Philando Castille shooting in Saint Paul and the Jamar Clark killing in North Minneapolis but they were much more noticeable this time around. We spoke to more young Somalis who were partaking the protest outside the 5 th precinct in Minneapolis.
 

Zeynab Ali, who raised money from her family and friends was going around offering people cold water bottles, Sambusa and handheld paper fans to help the protestors hydrate and keep cool. She expressed her disappointment with the Minneapolis police department as she also remembered her cousin who was recently shot by police in Edina. Zeynab came to America when she was only 4 years old and has since been a resident of Minneapolis. She said that she has a younger brother who might one day face the same fate as a George Floyd, “
 

To police, my 12 year old brother could one day pose a threat and I am afraid I might not be around to protect him. I want to be part of the solution and protesting might be the only option we have”. Shortly after speaking with us, Zeynab was joined by few of her friends who also had large jugs of water and milk for instances when police fire tear gas at the protestors. Identifiable only by their colorful hijabs, Zeynab and her friends were so short and skinny that they would get lost in the crowd at times but their voices were heard around the world.
 

Few feet away were about a dozen young Somali boys chanting, “no justice, no peace”. They stood on the front line and yelled on top of their lungs for change. Mohamed Jama was among them and was nice enough to talk to us. He expressed his frustration dating back to Travon Martin, who was gunned down by a neighborhood watch who eventually was found not guilty. “White people have been killing black and brown people with immunity for a very long time, it has to stop”, said Mohamed Jama with tears in his eyes.
 

Protesters holding banners march toward the LA County Sheriff’s Department during a rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 30, 2020. REUTERS/Kyle Grillot


The census was clear among the protestors, time has come for police brutality to end. As the Corona Virus pandemic looms over the minds of the protestors, for many, history was being made and they wanted to be on the right side of history regardless of the risk the virus poses.

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