This core element of humanity is on display throughout the world in response to the killing of George Floyd.
This attribute of George Floyd was shared time and time again by his family and friends that knew him best.
This man's earthly life may have ended, but a sustained tidal wave of justice and love was trigged.
There are 3 primary purposes for this fundraiser:
- Financially support George Floyd Memorial Scholarship funds at universities across the country by donating 100% of net proceeds from the sale of "Floyd Love" T-Shirts.
- Incentivize universities to establish their own fund by providing a donation to all programs established by June 30.
- Ensure ongoing awareness as supporters continue to wear the t-shirt thanks to the unique design, the meaning, and the softness of the t-shirt's material!
The "Floyd Love" Symbol and fundraiser was created by the team behind "Iowa love", a social enterprise that supports local small businesses, artisans, and nonprofits through the sale of their branded T-Shirts. Since March 2019, more than $50,000 has been fundraised and donated.
This fundraiser was launched one week after "Iowa love" founder and Minneapolis resident William Heathershaw publicly shared how the days following Floyd's death made him both "emotionally and intellectually conflicted":
"Not sure if you knew this about me - I moved to Minneapolis about 4 years ago, 3 years before I started “Iowa love”.
A week ago today, George Floyd, a black man, died while being arrested by local police.
When I saw the video during the 5pm news that day, I’m sure my heart beat faster and I was holding my breath when hearing Floyd’s voice plead that he couldn’t breath and watching his body go limp under the knee of the arresting officer.
Throughout this last week, I’ve been trying to better listen to and empathize with folks in the black community while also trying to wrap my head around the havoc wreaked on Minneapolis.
What had been especially frustrating for me is that there are many voices from outside Minneapolis that suggesting: ‘People that speak primarily about the riots are a part of the problem. They need to focus on the cause - the unjust death of Floyd and systemic racism.’
So, I went on defense.
While my emotions and focus were exclusively with Floyd and the cause on Monday and Tuesday, my emotions had justifiably been focused on the terror that began Wednesday night.
As a small business owner, I have a great understanding of the risks, absolute dedication, and sacrifices that go into starting, growing, or trying to keep alive, a business. So, my heart was certainly with fellow entrepreneurs when I saw images of them losing everything.
As a resident of North Minneapolis, I know the years of effort that has gone into revitalizing the neighborhood, but then to see the aftermath of broken windows, stolen merchandise, graffiti, and burned buildings - which reverse the years of progress.
As someone who enjoys going to South Minneapolis to enjoy the vibrancy of the restaurants and stores owned by immigrants from around the world who have come to Minneapolis to find their own American Dream, to have their hope in America be looted and burned down.
And it’s not just these acts - it’s trying to understand why our fellow community members would actively terrorize each other.
So, I spent many hours on social media these last days speaking up against friends who dismissed me and others who focused on the riots.
I wanted them to understand the pain that hundreds of thousands of Twin Cities residents are feeling right at this very moment.
I wanted to turn the tables on them and say “You’re the one who is privileged! You can preach this ideology because it’s not your neighborhood that is no more!”
And then I caught my breath.
I remembered I had breath to breathe.
And perhaps I should put it to ACTUAL good use.
I can't bring back what was destroyed in my community.
But there are things I can do.
#1… I can listen.
I can listen to black friends and the black community for how they are Tired & Hungry.
Tired that from birth they have lived in a society that is predominately not aware, or dismissive, of the fact that minorities have less access to quality education and employment opportunities, are discriminated against in housing, incarcerated at a higher rate, are not proportionately represented in government and Corporate America, and most often don’t get justice in the court system.
Tired that they feel that society wants them to dress white or act white to minimally not to be feared, but to ideally be taken seriously and welcomed to be a leader within their employers, communities, and governments.
Hungry that they’ve asked for change, pleaded for change, begged for change, DEMANDED change - and here we are generations into this, and our society still hasn’t fully answered.
#2… I can realize that while, yes, I’m not actively racist, I can embrace the fact that from walking into a store without being surveilled to being interviewed for a job without prejudice, I am a beneficiary of how our society works.
When I saw Congresswoman Ilhan Omar at the Martin Luther King Holiday Breakfast earlier this year, I went up to her to ask her about controversy.
I asked her, “You’ve been essentially demonized by what seems to be a large portion of Americans and even the President of the United States - why do you risk everything to fight what you consider to be the good fight?”
She responded that no matter what you say or stand for, you’re going to upset people. You’re especially going to upset those who you’re speaking out against because no one wants to lose what they’ve been benefiting from.
So, #3…. I can speak up for what I believe to be right without concern about alienating folks - even here on the “Iowa love” Facebook Page.
Take care everyone, God Bless, and please consider allowing these tumultuous days to prompt you to ponder “What can I do?”
With much Iowa love,