Statement of Solidarity: No Time to Be Silent

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Photo Credit: Jay Boller, CityPages 

There are not enough words to express the emotions that we at Fresh Energy are feeling right now: outrage, anger, grief, despair, helplessness, desperation, fear, anxiety, loss, sadness, guilt. This is not a moment to be silent.

Illustration by Andrés Guzmán

George Floyd’s death lays bare inequities in our society that we must work together to dismantle. As a leader among Minnesota’s civic institutions, Fresh Energy feels a responsibility to speak out, recognizing that it is not enough to be quietly non-racist. We must be vocally anti-racist. Fresh Energy stands in solidarity with the communities, organizations, and individuals demanding justice for the killing of George Floyd and we recognize that what is happening in Minnesota at this time flows directly from the deep and long-standing structural and institutional racism in our country, state, and cities.

Fresh Energy is committed to working within our sphere of influence toward equity-centered solutions. Together, we can change the systems, actions, and attitudes that have allowed injustice to continue. Addressing inequities is a critical part of our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and as an organization with power and privilege, we recognize our duty and responsibility to speak up and address racism and injustice in all forms.

As I contemplate these times, I am reminded of Martin Luther King’s historic and deep commitment to nonviolence from his 1963 speech as African Americans  faced crushing oppression and brutality: “Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights — of meeting physical force with soul force.”

But when more violence erupted across America’s cities as it has in Minneapolis and Saint Paul this week, Dr. King spoke to that too in his 1967 “The Other America” speech:  “…in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard…our nation’s summers of riots are caused by winters of delay.”

Fresh Energy is a beneficiary of a system that has evolved over decades. Clearly, dramatic change is needed to transform that system so that everyone benefits. None of us have all the answers we need, but I believe that the answers are there if people of goodwill can work together. We must create the policies and systems that will end the disparities, and help Minnesota emerge better, stronger and more just.