Just 628 days ago, George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis Police. At that time, Fresh Energy issued a statement of solidarity with Minnesotans calling for dramatic change to address the systemic racism evident in our systems of public safety and broader society. While I had hoped that moment would be the last such occasion for making such a statement, the events of last week make it clear how little has changed.
On February 3, Minneapolis Police shot and killed 22-year-old Amir Locke while executing a “no-knock warrant” for which he was not the subject. Amir was asleep when police entered without warning.
Fresh Energy stands in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, especially the Black community who are continuously impacted by violent policing practices such as no-knock warrants that resulted in the death of Amir Locke. We support and care deeply for our BIPOC staff, board members, and partners who are navigating yet another tragic killing of a Black person.
As part of our Commitment to Anti-Racism, Fresh Energy has made a pledge to speak out against systemic inequities and in support of solutions to racist structures and systems. Fresh Energy renews our call for substantive and immediate policy changes to transform the systems and institutions that made Amir Locke’s killing possible. Many of our political leaders have promised change; the time for promises is long past, and we are now watching for and expecting real action.
Discussion of police killings and gun violence in our state must include a reckoning with Minnesota’s broader context of rampant and systemic social and economic inequity. Minnesota has the fourth largest racial disparity when it comes to home ownership and among the worst racial disparities when it comes to overall public health. Black Minnesotans are 3.5 times more likely to be living below the poverty line. None of these realities have happened by accident, and all Minnesotans—including most especially those of us living with economic and social privilege—must loudly challenge the racist systems that have led us to this point in our history.
We understand that our work for a healthy climate must include safe and well-funded communities that prioritize equitable access to sustainable housing, employment education, food, and healthcare, among many things, for all people. We are paying attention to and echo the calls for accountability and transparency that must lead to real policy solutions that center people and community safety.