Since Memorial Day weekend in 2020, the intersection of 38th and Chicago in Minneapolis, the site where George Floyd was killed, has been closed off to vehicles, and the residents that surround what is now known as George Floyd Square, have adjusted to the new normal of traffic patterns. What neighbors haven't adjusted to, according to one woman's Facebook post, in which she states that she has lived "adjacent to 38th and Chicago for over 20 years" is the now regular occurrence of gunfire.
Monica Nilsson posted on September 11th about the 'state of George Floyd Square.' Nillson sounds defeated in her post, which goes into detail about the gunfire that often wakes her in the night, and the sounds of what appears to be automatic gunfire echoing into the Minneapolis night air.
The current state of George Floyd Square
The attached audio is just one minute of just one of three gun battles in George Floyd Square last night. I have lived adjacent to 38th and Chicago for over 20 years and I, as well as some neighbors I've spoken with, believe last night was the worst night of gunfire ever. But no one was murdered so it doesn't make the news. One person was shot but that doesn't make the news. Perhaps over 100 rounds were fired in 4 hours but that doesn't make the news either.
So now I'm at my wit's end. While I appeal to politicians, media, anyone who can affect change, neighbors process experiencing similar trauma and wonder where to live. Yet, until that day comes, we live here. And someone will live on all these blocks, in all these houses, after us.
I will give you a prize if you can count the number of gunshots in this audio, facing the fist statue at 39th St. and Chicago. This occurred at midnight, then again at 3 am, then again at 4am including with automatic weapons.
All I know to do now is to start writing, to start publicly documenting, something I have resisted for 15 months, the ongoing trauma that children and adults face when living in an unsafe neighborhood. I'm going to tag people who I know care or I want to care and won't be offended if you remove the tag and don't want this negative energy on your page. I just don't know what else to do.
You'll hear from me again, hopefully not tomorrow. I need sleep.
Reading her post, I am struck by everything she writes, but there are three sentences, that to me, stand out the most. The first is in Nilsson's second paragraph where she states:
"While I appeal to politicians, media, anyone who can affect change, neighbors process experiencing similar trauma and wonder where to live. Yet, until that day comes, we live here."
The other sentence hits me like a ton of bricks as it screams of a feeling of hopelessness that would be, to me, overwhelming.
"All I know to do now is to start writing, to start publicly documenting, something I have resisted for 15 months, the ongoing trauma that children and adults face when living in an unsafe neighborhood."
Give Nilsson's attached video a listen, how would you handle living in this situation? I couldn't imagine living long in a neighborhood with all that going on, regularly, but many don't have the means to leave, they are tied to their mortgages, and honestly, who would want to move into a neighborhood like the one described by Nilsson, as one with gunfire, you can hear it in the attached video to her post, and an overwhelming sense of not being safe?
I reached out to Nilsson via email to share with me what she would like people to know about where she lives, and why she is now sharing her frustrations after what she wrote to be 15 months of living in this situation. This is what Nilsson shared with me, along with a link to a Star Tribune article from March also documenting what life is like in her neighborhood.
I have lived on a block now adjacent to George Floyd Square for over 20 years. I join neighbors who have lived here longer than that in wanting to live in a community with people of different races, life experiences and faiths. The beautiful thing about Minneapolis, the economic driver of Minnesota, is its desire to fight all that dispirits us, not freeze or flee in the face of it.
Following more than a year of turmoil, it's easy for people to say, "Move." What if this wasn't about me or the people in the houses around me? During a national crisis, when we don't have enough units of housing for the people who need them, what if we focused on ensuring that no house or neighborhood is abandoned in the heart of an area where housing is needed because someone will live in my 1907 house after me and someone after the next person?
At the same time, I watch as neighbors choose that other human instinct, flee: 20% in the last year, another 20% preparing. 38th and Chicago is not the only under-resourced part of the city. We recognize that children in north Minneapolis have spent decades listening, watching, crying, questioning, trying to sleep amidst crime.
We join our neighbors to the north in praying for peace. We also will continue to call 911 as the devolution continues. We are unsure when help is coming.
Here is the link to the Star Tribune article, there is a paywall with this story.
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