We Are a Team. What We Want You to Know.
Our Communities Inspire Us.
The National Center Team thanks our colleagues across the U.S. and globe who have reached out to check on our safety and wellbeing since the death of George Floyd on May 25 and the subsequent unfolding of events in Minneapolis, St. Paul and the Twin Cities metro area. In short, after being rocked by the fallout from the pandemic, the daily lives of several of our staff members and our communities have been immeasurably impacted.
Two staff members live in the South Minneapolis Neighborhood where Mr. Floyd died while in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department and the epicenter of ever-growing waves of speaking out and protests against structural racism in our nation. They have spent days and sleepless nights working with neighbors to protect their homes and their community’s local businesses from the fires and vandalism that have followed the protests, much of which is being driven by forces outside of their communities, and what they perceive as military-like circumstances.
Two other staff members live in St. Paul, a community that has not been on the national news to the extent as Minneapolis but has also been deeply affected. One chose to leave her community with her family to another community for safety; the other has numerous family and friends who have lost their businesses and their livelihoods.
We have hosted thousands to Minneapolis over the past six years. You have visited our museums, restaurants, theatres, First Avenue, Twins games, and even made the trek to Paisley Park. Since many of you repeatedly return and know our community well, our team wants to let you know what is happening beyond the national headlines and news reports. The word is RESILIENCE.
On Monday morning, our team members who are firsthand experiencing these unimaginable events described how jarring the scene is in their communities that look “100% different” than three days prior. These communities are diverse with many racial and ethnic groups of African Americans; East African populations from Somalia, Ethiopia, and beyond; Latinx; many Asian enclaves such as Loatian, Vietnamese, Hmong; Native – or First Nation -- peoples as well as white. Our team members report how much they love their community more today than last week because of the “really intense outpouring of unconditional love that is hard to wrap your brain around”. This outpouring of support includes donations of money, food and supplies; listening to and uplifting black and brown leaders and experiences in the community; texting friends; reaching out to neighbors; and protecting property together. Suburban neighborhoods are organizing to bring food into donation centers rocked by food deserts and closed stores. Our team is only now putting words to their feelings and what they want you and the world to see and understand: The loving and caring communities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Next, we are extremely proud to be a part of the University of Minnesota community and support President Gabel’s and student leadership calling for swift action limiting ties with the Minneapolis Police Department. This action was reported in multiple national news outlets, including the Washington Post, NPR, and CNN. Our President quickly set the “tone at the top” that we need a different conversation and action.
We also want to put faces to the experience for the global interprofessional practice and education community. The damage extends to the healthcare system as two of the University of Minnesota’s family medicine clinics, Smiley’s and Broadway, were significantly damaged on Friday night. Our IPE colleagues will recognize Broadway as the vibrant interprofessional scene on the cover of the 2011 IPEC competency document. The Broadway Clinic staff transformed into a collection and distribution site for the N Minneapolis community over the weekend, kept seeing patients via telehealth, and are asking for people to start directing funds and donations for other community organizations, the majority led by communities of color in the area.
We are equally inspired by the education and dialogue that is beginning in our community, recognizing this will be important for healing and creating a different future. Many University of Minnesota scholars’ work and expertise are now showcased in the national press to shed light on the “Minnesota Paradox” through such projects as Mapping Prejudice. While the Minnesota disparities gap has been called “extreme”, we know that because of our country’s history, all states experience similar stories in their own ways.
If we own it, talk about it, study it, educate ourselves, take positive action, and behave like what the National Center Team is experiencing in our communities, we are hopeful that we will bring the change we want now.
Thank you for supporting the National Center and caring.