After the past few worship services at First Universalist, many of you have asked, “What’s the call to action? We’re ready to act for racial justice in our community.”
Today, we have an opportunity to take a small step. Several days ago, KSTP ran a story about Mayor Betsy Hodges “flashing a gang sign” with a "known felon." Of course, the story behind the story is that Betsy Hodges was out door knocking with residents from the North Side of Minneapolis, in a get out the vote effort. Additionally, the Chief of Police, Janee Harteau, was with Mayor Hodges and other North Side residents during the time this photo was taken. Chief Harteau expressed no concern about Mayor Hodges’ behavior, because it was simply a friendly gesture with a Minneapolis citizen. (For further context: check out the article, “Dear White People: Mayor Betsy Hodges is Not in a Gang,” by Nekima Levy-Pounds.)
Unfortunately, the story that ran played to some of the worst racial stereotypes out there: the false narrative that young black men are dangerous, are in gangs, and are unsafe.
As Unitarian Universalists, we believe in the inherent dignity and worth of all people; we believe in welcoming, affirming, and protecting the light in each human heart; we believe that we are called to be Love’s people in this world. The kind of “reporting” that KSTP did is irresponsible, unaccountable, and deeply damaging. Spreading lies and misinformation does not help build the beloved community we dream of. We must demand better from KSTP. You can call them 651-642-4421 to leave your feedback or Tweet them @kstp. It’s a small step, but our silence does nothing to build the community we dream of. Our next steps are larger ones, and they are holding our city leaders and the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis accountable to a racial justice vision.