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  • Writer's pictureKay Kuehn, Exec. Director

Then EVERYTHING Changed!

He had a name and it was not "That man." HIS name shall be spoken, it was GEORGE FLOYD!! Say it, remember it, I WILL!

"I can't wait for things to go back to normal." "I will be glad when this is all over." "What next?!"

Have you heard someone, maybe even yourself, utter these phrases or similar phrases? I have heard them many times over. It has led me to think about a few things. I wonder what a person means when they say 'normal', I wonder what a person means when they say 'this is all over', and I personally wonder what will be next.

On Monday, May 28 ALL of our lives were changed forever whether we wish to admit it or not. When George Floyd lost his life senselessly to the brutal act of four Minneapolis Police Officers I did say, "What next!" I recall sitting in front of my television and at a certain point during the video showing this horrendous act I got up with tears in my eyes, turned off the tv and went on my bike. It was almost as if I was pedaling to get away from something only to fully realizing it would still be there when I returned.

What happened next was both the witnessing of humanity at our worst and humanity at our best. At our worst there was rioting, looting, and burning of businesses along University Avenue less than one block from where Open Hands Midway is housed. We witnessed humanity at our worst looting Dey Distributing, MaxIt Pawn Shop, DTLR, BigTop Liquor and more. Lloyd's Pharmacy, Sports Dome and Napa Auto were burned to the ground after they were looted. FootLocker and BigTop Liquor were looted and have extensive fire damage. Many businesses up and down University Avenue have graffiti on them or are boarded up. Essential stores such as Target and Cub were closed out of fear of looting and burning. These photos below are the remains of Sports Dome, FootLocker and BigTop Liquor.

What came next was humanity at our best. The night of May 28, Pastor Kirsten Fryer at Bethlehem Lutheran in-the-Midway, where Open Hands Midway is housed, received a call asking if the church would be able to open for use as an aid station. Without hesitating she said "YES!" For a few days this is the way things operated until the majority of the church was turned into a neighborhood community distribution site for those in need. Hundreds of volunteers showed up to give of their time by packing, sorting, unloading, and distributing food and household supplies to anyone in need. People came from all over with carloads and truckloads of much needed items.

And then our beloved community members who now lacked access to burned, looted or closed stores came by the hundreds to freely receive what they needed.

The picture below with with the sunrise is so powerful. As I walked the neighborhood on Thursday, June 4 at about 6:30 am, I took this picture of the sun rising over the remains of Sports Dome and thought to myself, "Out of the ashes we WILL rise again!"

The last picture below is a yard sign I saw which is exactly how I feel.

I CAN'T breathe until we ALL can breathe.


We have work to do and we must do it for George, Breonna, Philando, Eric,Tamir, Jamar, Tanisha, Freddie, Justin and many more who have senselessly lost their lives unjustly, just sayin'...

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