George Floyd Mourners

Rest in peace, Mr. Floyd.

Minnesota photographer Julie Taylor has been on the scene in Minneapolis during that past weeks of tragedy and unrest. In this piece, along with her photographs we publish her experiences and feelings, unedited, as she submitted them. All views and opinions are her own.


On Memorial Day, George Floyd was allegedly killed by four policemen from the Minneapolis Police Department. Mr. Floyd was an African American man. He was 46 years old. The incident was video-taped and recorded by on-lookers. It revealed authority that had turned into unwarranted power and neglect. What was asked of Mr. Floyd was subordinate obedience. What transpired in the ensuing minutes was no less than murder. Mr. Floyd pleaded for his life. He stated “I can’t breathe”. He called out for his Mama. Yet the policeman kept his knee on his neck, applying pressure for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Mr. Floyd apparently died at the scene on the street in front of the store he frequented. The policeman’s actions contributed to his death. There were other factors involved such as drug use and hyper-tension. He had allegedly used a 20 dollar counterfeit bill 15 minutes prior to his death. Okay….if true, using the illegal document was not right. However, Floyd’s death did not fit the crime.

Julie K. Taylor | Light And Matter

What has transpired since this incident has been nothing less than an uproar. People from all walks of life and socioeconomic backgrounds have taken to the streets and demanded a change. They are not just asking for change, but are instead demanding change. The African-American community has especially cried out and pleaded to the authorities to change the defensive tone, the racism, the policies and attitudes that have long held them in oppression.

A couple of weeks ago I visited the 38th and Chicago intersection in Minneapolis. I viewed the site where Mr. Floyd died. I viewed the large hand-painted mural of Mr. Floyd on the brick building around the corner. I watched as two young girls knelt to the ground and prayed. They consoled each other and held each other.

Julie K. Taylor | Light And Matter

Earlier in the day I wrote a small card to the Floyd family. It was placed in a large circle of flowers….I put my hand on my heart and just stood….thinking to myself that maybe it should have been for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time that the indicted policeman had his knee on George.

Julie K. Taylor

There were many groups of young people protesting. They were peaceful, holding signs, and music was blaring from a truck with a huge mural stating “I can’t breathe” on the side. There was signage everywhere. The fences enclosing houses were smothered in images of George Floyd. The roads were littered in flowers and bouquets. The sun was shining, the grills emitting smells of burgers….free food and water for all.

There were representatives of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. A young woman representing her views was steeped in the knowledge of Malcom X’s teachings. It felt ironic that so many viewed this gathering as divisive, when in fact this crowd sought radical change and were cohesive to that end. So, many young people are passionate for change…giving voice to what has been silent. I remember thinking of the word freedom. The protesters had the freedom to speak their truth. We all should have that right. Did George? Or was his freedom taken away as his life was snuffed out?  Do minorities have the same freedoms as their white counterparts?  I do not think so. It seems there is little accountability, as that has been silenced by the majority. It takes this kind of incident to smack us in the face.

Julie K. Taylor | Light And Matter

Racism exists. It indeed finds it’s way in the cracks and creases of daily life. It is sometimes blatant and often insidious. It can be so ingrained into our being that many feel justified and dismissive. Humanity is like a vast sea – a sea of faces that may seem skewed and undefined from a distance. It is only in relationship that one can come to an understanding that allows one to embrace difference and recognize the beauty of others who are different from ourselves. We are not diminishing our own merit when we give way and merit to others. We essentially are allowing others to receive what they know is theirs but have never had. It is quite audacious to hold the key to someone else’s freedom and rights. It is hard to fathom a 24/7, 365-day, 400-year curfew of sorts covered in a blanket of racism. We all have challenges but we all do not live under that heavy blanket of racism. This is a raw distinction and difficult to acknowledge. What remains so painfully apparent is that George Floyd and others before him have paid an unimaginable, even unto death price to enlighten us. Mr. Floyd,  may you be remembered for who you truly are. Rest in peace, Mr. Floyd.   


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Chuck

Roads. Recognizing. Relationships. Responsibility. Reality.

A beautiful pictorial and words shared by a heart. Julie’s sharing depicts what should simply be reminders and encouragement for all people to continue to strive do – do what is good and right in God’s eyes. (Even those who may not believe in God are usually brought up, by words and example and practice something about what is good and right). It may not be a parent or parents but perhaps a grandparent or relative or neighbor, showing and discipling what is good and right versus bad, hateful, or evil).

As a minority whose “people” who were impacted during World War II. As a minority with a physical disability the past almost 15 years. As a minority as a male (women outnumber men in America). As seemingly a minority among so many nowadays, my desire is to highlight truth and reality. What occurred to George and any other of the wrongful deaths anywhere, is sooooo wrong. With that being said, like any business or family that strives to live with character and integrity, one identifies the root causes that need to be addressed. Those impacted and those with the resources and influences, should be invited and involved in both the identification, development, implementation, monitoring, and correction of the processes to address the roadblocks to doing what is good and right. This is hard work, full of frustration, conflict, emotions, learning curves, new habits, forgiveness, healing, listening, compassion, love, plenty of emotions, and what most do not want to remember or forget: steps with reality. This comes with oops and start-overs and grace, with corrections, humility, and perseverance, with conversations, sacrifice, and usually difficult choices, all to make strides for heart-motivated choices that bring change that all can begin to see and appreciate… together. For the long term big picture.

Julie’s pictures and heart-cry words are for all to see. To be reminders. To be encouragers. That we are all far from perfect, that even though we have made strides from even a generation ago (except where poverty, power, and pleasure still imprison and abuse people), and that we should not wait until the next media atrocity floods our senses; we need to re-prioritize to return to the basics of what love and encouraging one an-other looks like in real life. Where do we allocate our time and resources? How often does one follow one’s heart to truly stay committed to help an-other… til they do not need help anymore? When will we choose to be realistic and responsible with how we address relationships (and any other community, company, or family opportunity)? Our consumerism and entitlement culture has led to bigger, faster, techier (is that even a word?), cheaper, independence, and selfishness. If that is more important, what me,myself, and i want – then there is no hope for hearts to want to make the changes or sacrifices required to do what most people have been doing, albeit inconsistently or only when comfortable, which is to work on relationships and poverty. No? Do a self-check under the roof of your own home? Your own neighborhood? How about at work?

…Where relationships and poverty are wholeheartedly being addressed, commitments are being made, forgiveness is being extended, generosity is overwhelming, and people experience life together: helpful, hopeful, and healthy life with one an-other. i hope and pray Julie’s deeply encompassing pictures and words lead your heart to thinking and action with at least one person… and imagine if we all start with one. The stark contrast of her black and whites remind one of yes, our choice is black or white, yes or no, comfortable or get uncomfortable, do something or stay the same. For as always, this is a heart issue… we don’t need laws or enforcers or destructive expressions when the heart is right with self and one an-other. Good and right, or not. Go…

Mary

Once again, Julie Taylor has used her remarkable talents to highlight the pain we all feel following the death of George Floyd. The powerful images and insightful story telling demand us to personalize the question, “What can I actively DO to make a lasting difference?” Thanks, Julie, for opening our eyes widely in your always meaningful way.

K Terry

Thanks for sharing!

brittany

we are so honored, in our community, to have an artist who is willing to be vulnerable during this dark time in our history. I appreciate this work not only for its impact on social justice, but for its willingness to bring to light what has for so long been shadowed in our community’s periphery.

Julie Elliott

Julie, Thank you for sharing this hard subject through your heart and eyes using your words and photography! Absolutely heartfelt!

Merilyn Mau

Beautiful and powerful: words and images. Thank you Julie.

kelly mcginnis

Best article ever Julie put into pictures what we all thiking and feeling

kelly mcginnis

Ok7

T Jones

Julie,
Beautiful photos Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge Mr.Floyd. You have such a loving, sympathetic heart for others Racism is very real and this cop showed it in every aspect not to mention the hundreds of other African Americans, Hispanics, and other cultures that have been murdered by Caucasian police officers. I am so glad you have went down and gotten close up to the reality thank you for this story.

T Jones

And not just Caucasian police officers but most police officers who abuse there authority.

Mary Jo Zimmermann

Thank you for sharing this with me. Your photography is beautiful and very appropriately done in black and white. So much of what you said in your piece is spot on! I do have some issues about what has happened since then. Somehow I wish we could have change without further loss of lives and destruction of property. I feel for the people who live in the area where the rioting took place. What little they had was destroyed and they are left with next to nothing. I pray that real change comes this time, and pray that we can all learn to except each other no matter of what our differences are.

Andrew Schramm

Thank you for naming it (racism) and bearing witness. We need to keep up the momentum. Change is happening!

dean seal

Julie Taylor’s essay is a testament of love and care for where the nation is today. Her photos are show in black and white, a format I especially love, and which has a newsy quality to it, which is a appropriate to this story. I taught Religion at Augsburg university for 11 years, and we studied the Civil Rights Movement intensely. Julie’s testimony of where this event stands in our nation’s history is accurate and very moving. I found it to be an excellent personal statement of Witnessing; and a lot of American racism comes from white people who Don’t Want to Know, Don’t want to learn. They want to perpetuate the innocence they were brought up with, but deliberate turning away from knowledge is not innocence; it becomes Ignorance. And continued ignorance means an endless landscape of injustice. Keep up the good work, Ms, Taylor,

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