I took these pictures one early morning while I walked around my neighborhood with my 1-year-old daughter strapped to my chest. I stumbled upon this series of signs all on a single block, on one side of the street, after walking some five minutes past my doorstep. I found it heartening how densely packed my neighbors’ declarations of Black Lives Matter came to be. There were many more signs I thought of taking a picture of, but taking pictures in too many front lawns may have raised some eyebrows.
Us Minnesotans are often teased for being awkward, for not knowing how to talk about our feelings, for failing to acknowledge what everyone is thinking. In my predominantly white neighborhood, these signs were one way the community responded when, about 2 miles from my doorstep, a Black man named George Floyd was killed by a police officer in a shocking and grotesque way. 365+ days after that tragedy, I can still find this one block vigil for racial justice.
Some call it performative. Sure. But, this performance affirms my humanity, so I’ll take it. Some say it is insufficient. True. A sign is not enough, but it has helped me appreciate how these small steps compliment the big ones: the legislation, the lasting reforms, the equitable sharing of resources, and developing a unified vision of a beloved community, to name a few. If we are dedicated to the cause of racial justice, these signs will bolster our resolve on the road to more ambitious efforts.
As a Black homeowner in a white neighborhood, I already fall into discomfort sometimes. It was even harder to interact with my white neighbors after we’ve separately watched a version of me choked against the pavement. Another quality of Minnesota culture is we don’t have enough spaces to speak to one another as a community. These signs are a good first step, though.
I appreciate how long our walk will be. Peace to all of my neighbors who offered me small assurances along this path.