Good afternoon, everyone:
My name is Peggy Flanagan and I am the Lt. Governor of the State of Minnesota and I am a member of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe and my family is the Wolf Clan and the role of our Wolf Clan is to ensure that we’re not leaving anyone behind.
And that work could not be more important than this moment when we find ourselves in right now.
As we’ve come together as community it was become tremendously difficult to not reach out and to embrace each other, because as we were watching our communities fall apart the moment to connect, the moment to physically touch and care for one another is one of the things that we are prevented from doing right now. But because of the importance of this moment, as the Governor mentioned, this is the first time that we have been in the room together because it matters THAT much.
Now, before I became Lt. Governor, I was an organizer and I was an organizer for 20 years. And when there are protests in the street, I was there.
I marched behind Valerie Castillo as we mourned the unjust loss of her son. And my heart and my guts are being ripped out in this moment, as I also want to go to the streets. And what we’ve experienced in the loss and the murder of on camera of our community member, George Floyd, is horrific.
And that space on 38th and Chicago is sacred ground. And people should be able to come together on that sacred ground and mourn and grieve and demand change and justice in policing and every other racist system that we have that has been part of this state but in this moment we cannot, we have detractors. We have white supremacists, there are anarchists, there are people who are burning down the institutions that are core to our identity and who we are.
As a member of the Urban American Indian Community, watching the destruction of Migizi, an institution in our community that has been the foundation for organizing, for education, for opportunity, for building community together is no longer there.
We did NOT do that. We have been coming together to take care of our community, and so, this is what I ask of all of you. We need to create the space for people to grieve, to come together, to mourn the loss of George Floyd, but in order to be able to do that. We need to create the space to remove the people that are doing us harm.
We’ve watched communities step up and come together to clean the streets, to feed one another, and that is what we need to do here.
One of the ways that we can care for community is to stay home tonight. Is to stay home tonight, so that we can remove those folks who are harming us. So that we can remove those folks who are detracting from the memory of George Floyd and for the work that we have to do to ensure justice is done, and to ensure that the additional officers are held accountable.
But we cannot do that until community can gather safely. So I am grateful to be in this space with all of you, to be at home as we are together in community, and it is time for us to call on each other as organizers to stay home so that we can make sure that we have the opportunity to retain our community and to be able to rebuild and recover together. And do all the work that we can in the Capitol building behind us to undo these systems of racism and to move policies forward that are truly just.
This swell of mourning and grief has been just below the surface, and it burst out into public and we must take this moment to change it all, to change it all.