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One year since George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police, community members share how much their community has changed and how much it's stayed the same. “The killing of George Floyd changed the world,” Michelle Gross, the founder of Communities United Against Police Brutality, told Yahoo News.
MICHELLE GROSS: The killing of George Floyd changed the world. I mean, there is no question about that. We can't even begin to measure how much it's changed. What it did, I think for a lot of white people, was make them sort of see that police brutality is very real and that what it looks like is very, very ugly.
TRAHERN CREWS: When Kamala Harris says that America is not racist, but Black people put you in office-- but you have not put any policies in effect for us. We beg to differ. And I don't think that Kamala Harris doesn't want to. I just think because of racism, people feel like they have to approach-- I have to take care of white people's issues first, instead of dealing with what's the most important issues at the top.
MICHELLE GROSS: I'm Michelle Gross, and I'm the president of Communities United Against Police Brutality. Minnesota has this long reputation of being a very liberal state, very kind of friendly state, and that sort of stuff. But that's kind of the veneer, and underneath there's a very different story.
Black drivers in Minneapolis are 29 times more likely than white drivers to be pulled over by cops. And this is in a very white state. Blacks make up about 19% of Minneapolis proper, about 12% of the whole state.
There is a thing where somebody gets shot, and typically you don't see that video. And you hear about it, and you go, gosh, isn't that terrible. I mean, I have bigger reactions than that, but I think a lot of average white folk are like, that's terrible-- but what did they do, you know. This was so clear that this man had done nothing to cause this. It was agonizing to watch this man die over nine and a half minutes. People got to see the long, slow [? projectory ?] of a man dying, begging and pleading for his life, and calling for his mother.
TRAHERN CREWS: I'm Trahern Crews, I'm the lead organizer with BLM Minnesota, and I live here in St. Paul, Minnesota. St. Paul just statistically, this is like one of the best places to live if you're white, but the worst place to live if you're Black. Everyday life is just the police pulling people over, not be able to get a loan, how you're being called the n-word in school, or teachers calling your daughter the n-word, and things like that. So those are some of the issues that people face on a day to day basis.
We got housing disparities, we have employment disparities, we have a wealth gap that is very substantial, and according to [? demos ?] this was driven by public policy decisions that are made by some of the lawmakers here.
PAUL EAVES: I have lived in the Twin Cities my whole life. These are not just names, these are actual living beings whose life was cut short unjustly, and there are people still grieving. And it's like, it's time for that grieving-- that type of grieving to not happen anymore. I see Black men walk by sometimes, and I just look at them and they go, what is it like to live without fear.
JAY WEBB: And this is for George, who cannot experience his freedom. This is for all the people that decided not to come here, they cannot feel this freedom. That's why we're here. That's why you're here in the gap, to bring it. You know, so that people that are unable to get here can know the truth. That-- you know what, yes, truly an atrocity happened, but this is what we're doing.
We have ashes-- for the beauty, for these ashes-- these ashes we're turning into beauty. That's it. One year later, It means that there's oil in the lamp and it's flickering. And every time everyone comes back and comes they're bringing oil, and the flame is getting larger and brighter. That's what it means to me. This is me standing in the gap for everyone that has ever fallen ever in humanity. That's why I'm here. This is for everyone who has ever fallen in humanity in all of time.