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Minneapolis acknowledges trauma, honors victims on 3rd anniversary of George Floyd’s murder

City Council member Robin Wonsley stands with Toshira Garraway, Jeanelle Austin, and other community members impacted by police violence. (Jasmine McBride/Center for Broadcast Journalism)

On the third anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, the City Council began its regular meeting by formally recognizing the widespread pain and trauma that can result from police brutality.

Councilmembers Robin Wonsley, Elliott Payne, Jason Chavez, Aisha Chughtai and Jeremiah Ellison took turns reading from an honorary resolution, which went into great detail citing the extensive harm that comes from discriminatory policing and excessive use of force.

“Make sure you continue to hold our feet to the fire about building up accountable public safety systems,” said Councilwoman Wonsley, addressing those gathered in the council chambers, “because it is the lack of political will that got us to this moment, to the moment where George Floyd was lynched in front of the world.”

Executive Director and Lead Caretaker of George Floyd Square Jeanelle Austin was also honored for work at the council meeting. She says, while George Floyd’s murder opened people’s eyes to the reality of police brutality, three years later community members are still advocating for reforms they believed would have been addressed by now.

“For political reasons, the needs of the community have not been met by people who have the power and the capacity to meet them.”

Austin says these lingering issues disproportionately impact communities of color. She says while they still face political power struggles, she finds hope in the strength of the community.

“When I look at the past three years, the deepest positive change I see is in the community– is in the way in which people came together and stayed together, the work that people are putting in to actually be neighbors, and link arm in arm, and to say that we understand the power of us working together,” said Austin. "Moving together is what is going to end racism in this country. We have to lead our country through this, and that takes intentionality.”

Austin says the City Council resolution is just the beginning, and that there will need to be more efforts to heal the hearts of victims who’ve faced the traumas that come with police brutality.

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