How George Floyd lived

This week marks the second anniversary of the police murder of George Floyd. Nine minutes and 29 seconds, that’s how long Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck on Memorial Day 2020. Floyd was handcuffed face-down on the pavement, not resisting, as he gasped for air, begging for his life. A teenager named Darnella Frazier recorded cellphone video of their actions and helped spark global protests demanding justice.

Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22-and-a-half years in prison for murdering George Floyd. Three other former Minneapolis police officers were found guilty of violating Floyd’s civil rights as they ignored his repeated pleas of “I can’t breathe.”

And if this was a normal story, George Floyd would have been the heir to that fortune. He would have been — he would have come into the world quite wealthy as a result of the generational wealth that passed down. That’s how wealth is built in this country. That’s how many people came into the world wealthy, because of their hard-working ancestors. But, unfortunately, George Floyd’s great-great-grandfather had all of his land taken from him through fraudulent tax schemes and unscrupulous business deals by white farmers and white landowners who wanted to take advantage of him and didn’t like the fact that there was a wealthy Black man going around their community. This was a time of racial terror in the country at the turn of the century, around the time of the Tulsa race riots and a number of different things happening, and George Floyd’s great-great-grandfather lost all of his land, and he was unable to pass any of that land down. And what did that do to the rest of George Floyd’s ancestry? It meant the next couple of generations, before George Floyd came to scene, were made up of sharecroppers who lived in poverty despite working hard for years and years and years. And George Floyd was not able to inherit any of the benefits of the hard work of his ancestors the way many people have been able to benefit from the hard work that’s built up over generations.

— source | May 23, 2022

Nullius in verba

Racist Massacre & Community’s Need for Gun Control, Good Jobs, Housing

Buffalo, where the first funeral is being held today for the victims of Saturday’s massacre, when an 18-year-old white supremacist opened fire on a grocery store in the heart of Buffalo’s Black community. The gunman shot dead 10 people, all African American. Today’s funeral is for 68-year-old Heyward Patterson. He was a deacon at the Tabernacle Church of God, known for giving rides to people who needed to shop at Tops, where Saturday’s attack took place.

The community has come together. Buffalo really is a place of resilience, of deep community, of mutual aid. We’ve seen, time and time again, when tragedies happen, and even on a day-to-day, we take care of each other. So, the outpouring of support from agencies and individuals, from all over other municipalities, localities and all over the country and world, has really been overwhelming.

My question is: What happens when the cameras leave? How do we continue to support people who have been negatively impacted? I walked around the neighborhood yesterday and talked to folks who were just out sitting on their porches and walking through the streets, who were saying that, you know, they didn’t want to go back into that store. I talked to a young man whose mother shopped in that Tops, who hasn’t left the house since the incident happened. So we really have to make sure that the support is long-lasting and that we have our eye toward the systemic change that has to occur in east Buffalo and for Black people in this community.

— source | May 20, 2022

Nullius in verba

Buffalo Mass Shooting That Targeted Black Community

Residents of Buffalo, New York, gathered at vigils Sunday to mourn the 10 people killed on Saturday, when a white supremacist wearing body armor and carrying an assault rifle opened fire on a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Of the 13 shoppers and store workers shot in the assault, 11 were Black.

Police are calling the massacre a domestic terror attack. They’ve arrested an 18-year-old suspect who reportedly live-streamed the massacre on the video streaming service Twitch. The site took the video down within minutes, but the footage continues to circulate among white supremacists online. The suspect left behind a racist manifesto that included a plan to target a mainly Black neighborhood. Investigators say he had researched the area and drove about 200 miles from his home in Conklin, New York, before arriving a day in advance to conduct reconnaissance. The manifesto heavily plagiarized a screed left behind by the white supremacist who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019. The manifesto refers to the “Great Replacement,” a racist conspiracy theory promoted by far-right media figures like Tucker Carlson of Fox News and embraced by some Republicans, including New York Congressmember Elise Stefanik.

Prosecutors say the shooter purchased the Bushmaster XM-15 semiautomatic rifle used in the assault lawfully from a licensed gun dealer in his hometown after he passed a

— source | May 16, 2022

Nullius in verba

After a Century of Dispossession, Black Farmers Are Fighting to Get Back to the Land

In the decades before the Civil War, one of the South’s largest slave enterprises held sway on the northern outskirts of Durham, North Carolina. At its peak, about 900 enslaved people were compelled to grow tobacco, corn, and other crops on the Stagville Plantation, 30,000 acres of rolling piedmont that had been taken from the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation. Today, the area has a transitional feel: Old farmhouses, open fields, and pine forests cede ground to subdivisions, as one of America’s hottest real estate markets sprawls outward.

On a sunny winter afternoon, farmer and food-justice activist Tahz Walker greets me on a 48-acre patch of former Stagville property called the Earthseed Land Collective. Walker and a few friends pooled their resources and bought this parcel, he says, to experiment with collective living, and inspire “people of color to reimagine their relationship to land.” He leads me through the gate of the property’s Tierra Negra Farm, a 2-acre plot of vegetable rows, hoop houses, and a grassy patch teeming with busy hens. It’s one of several enterprises housed within the land collective, which also features a commercial worm-compost operation, a capoeira studio, and homes for several members, including the 1930s farmhouse where Walker lives with his wife and co-farmer, Cristina Rivera-Chapman, and their two kids. Tierra Negra markets its produce through a subscription veggie-box service that goes to 20 nearby families—including descendants of Stagville’s enslaved population—and supplies Communities in Partnership, a local nonprofit that brings affordable fresh food to historically Black, fast-gentrifying East Durham.

As it’s January, most of the rows are fallow. Walker points to a patch of bare ground that grew sweet potatoes the previous season. “It’s a variety that was grown by a Black

— source | Tom Philpott | May 2021

Nullius in verba

Florida House Black Caucus members took direct action on the House floor

In an extraordinary display this week in the state House chamber, Black Democrats loudly chanted, wore T-shirts that read “Stop the Black Attack,” and staged a sit-in protest that shut down debate over African American representation in the redistricting process. “When Black votes are under attack, we stand up and fight back,” the crowd of Black lawmakers yelled on the House floor. For years now, that’s not always been the case in the GOP-controlled Legislature, where Black lawmakers and Democrats often get rolled over as Republican legislators approve their conservative agendas.

— source | Apr 27, 2022

Nullius in verba