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'George Floyd is a tipping point, America's black community has had enough': A black mother shares her experience in Minneapolis

Venessa Fuentes
Venessa Fuentes is raising her son in the south side of Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed

I'm a black woman from the third precinct in Minneapolis where a lot of the unrest has been happening, and my role as an activist is in helping out the community. I stand with them.

There have been so many state sponsored acts of murder of black people, in Minnesota and across the country.

When the news of George Floyd started to break I woke up to lots of friends checking in with me. Before his name was released the word had gotten out that police had killed an unarmed black man in the south side of Minneapolis. That's where I work, and where I live. It's where I raise my 15-year-old son.

Throughout the day we started to get more information. Then they released his name, then the fact the white officer had been kneeling on his neck for nine minutes.

It happened outside Cup Foods, a little store on 38th Street, just down the street from where we operate and live. People gathered there to express their sorrow, and anger quite frankly.

floyd - Getty

They started moving toward the police precinct about a mile and a half away. It was peaceful and the crowd started to grow. I don't know what the tipping point was but at some point the police used tear gas and rubber bullets.

We've had police killings in Minnesota before. There was Philando Castile and Jamar Clark. I don't know what's different this time.

I don't think anything is particularly different, except maybe social media. This murder was filmed by a bystander in the community.

Really, I think the main difference is that we're just tired. People in my city are really tired of this and we just want to see the police held accountable, we're exhausted with it. There are people in positions of power who just continue to want to keep us in our place and we just are not having it any more.

What's happening now is cross-class, cross-race, cross generational. We are all unifying. There are young people, women, everyone.

I think people in the twin cities [Minneapolis and St Paul] and across the nation might be surprised to see this starting here. We are often overlooked. People often assume Minnesota is a quiet midwestern place, and nothing happens, and there's just a lot of cows.

protest - AP

But the reaction across the country has been amazing and it sends us a signal. The world is watching the twin cities right now and it is very validating.

We have had gains and wins since the 1960s but what's still happening is extremely disappointing and upsetting. It's important to remember the gain, especially in the depressed state we are in now in this communal circumstance of pandemic and unrest.

To press through and find joy, that's going to get us through. I would just say to people, these are the trials that will help us shape the world we want to live in.

In the days since George Floyd's murder white supremacists have come from outside the twin cities, to the south side of Minneapolis. It's a historically predominantly black area and they came in to set fires and to loot. It's a really unstable situation.

We're having to take care of ourselves on a block by block basis, to share information and food and raise money.

People take shifts on vigil to chase away people that don't live here. There are a lot of cars around that don't have licence plates.

protest - shutterstock

I've lived here my whole life and I've never experienced anything like this. We are dealing with a whole new level of anti-blackness.

People in our community are not going to damage our own buildings and businesses. We're not going to torch them. It's definitely outside elements. And messages from the president in his bunker aren't helping. He's blaming Antifa which isn't even an organisation, it's an ideology.

I was driving around with my son and there are National Guard on every corner. My son is very upset.

We have black hawk helicopters circling our neighbourhood, shaking our house.

The focus for us now is mutual aid. There's lots of meetings happening daily in parks and on blocks. Anxiety is rampant here.