Once upon a time, when you were young, Minneapolis was burning

I am always hesitant to write about current events. I go for it every now and then, but I do so tentatively, knowing that I (usually) don’t have any expertise to offer. Also because it’s easier for me to just sit inside the four walls of my quarantine and write about my vegetable garden and pretend that injustice isn’t raging all around me.

This blog exists for my kids, so that when they’re all grown up, they’ll be able to look back on their childhoods. And one day, when they look back on May 2020, it’s important to me that they know that Minneapolis was burning.

Here are the facts, kids: George Floyd died after a police officer kneeled on his neck while he pleaded for his life. Floyd was unarmed. He was black. The police officer was white.

Floyd’s death sparked an uprising in Minneapolis. Grief, outrage, fires, protests. It’s ugly, all of it.

I hope that in 10 years the story of George Floyd reads like science fiction, because institutional racism would never be tolerated in your present. I remember hearing about my parents’ experiences growing up during segregation. “I can’t believe that,” I mused, completely unaware that even though segregation had been outlawed, the systems that allowed for segregation hadn’t been changed at all.

It’s hard for me to talk about this, especially to you. I want to get it right and I know I won’t. I’m learning, and you’re helping teach me. I see this through your eyes and it’s obvious that racism is absorbed from a very early age. One day you will be my teacher, too. That’s how this works — you can never stop learning, evolving, doing better.

I’m doing my best to raise you to be children who love others and seek justice.

What I want for you is to have wide eyes. I want you to be aware of racism, and to be aware that you are able to ignore injustice because of your privilege. (1 Thess 5:6)

I want you to see people of color and be their friends and allies. I want you to always be learning, asking questions, offering yourselves.

I want you to recognize racism for what it is and stop it in its tracks at every level. A racist joke or nickname, appropriation, discrimination, violence — it all walks hand-in-hand and it is not acceptable.

I want you to be active allies with people of color. Be their voice, because there are times when your voice will be deemed more valuable. Make sure you speak truth.

I want you to know that you are privileged. This truth of what this means will unravel slowly for you throughout your life. It’s important that you know that you aren’t on an even playing field, and you have the advantage because of the color of your skin.

I want you to know that all people are image bearers of God. All people. When you look at a person, look at them with eyes that see that they are reflections of the glory of God.

When I was a kid, a man named Rodney King was violently beaten by police. When the officers weren’t held responsible, people rioted in Los Angeles for six days. (Ah, I forgot to mention — Rodney King was black. The officers where white.)

I remember hearing about the riots and being only tangentially interested. It didn’t affect me, or my family, or my town. I live on the east coast — far from the L.A. riots. But even farther is my reality — my skin is white.

I cannot relate to the experience of a person of color, but I can speak to the experience of a white person. The experience of a white person is this — you can go about your life as if none of this matters or is even real.

I want you to know that apathy is not an option. Apathy is not doing nothing.

Apathy is a wide-open door to hate.



  1. Alanda May 30, 2020

    I’m in tears reading this and my mind is racing. As a black woman with a black husband raising two black boys I want to say this to you. THANK YOU!

  2. Jen May 30, 2020

    This is so well said. I sometimes feel helpless as a white person in a privileged position. I want to help but don’t know how.

  3. Amber Myers June 2, 2020

    This is written very well. My heart is aching over what is happening. I am for sure teaching my kids about their privilege. Everyone just needs to be kind.

  4. Shilpa Bindlish June 2, 2020

    I feel sad why this world isn’t same for everyone. Don’t know if there is a solution.

  5. Julia Hess June 2, 2020

    I know talking about it and bringing awareness to it is a step. But our actions need to represent it also. No one should have to go through that no matter their skin color.

  6. Ngozi June 2, 2020

    Thank you for this heartfelt message to your children, and the rest of the world.

  7. WorldInEyes June 2, 2020

    your words are so heart touching and their meaning is much deep inside…nowadays mostly all of the people are feeling sorry over this situation…

  8. Flo June 2, 2020

    It’s a terrible thing that happened… I can’t believe stuff like that still happens nowadays.

  9. Tara Pittman June 2, 2020

    We are all God’s children. I will teach my child to love on another.

  10. Cristina June 2, 2020

    Hat off to your heartfelt article. The big question is: after some times passes and things begin to calm down, is something going to change? I mean really change! What changed after Rodney King and many more like him. My heart is aching at the thought that things will carry one the way they are now.

  11. ohmummymia June 2, 2020

    This broke me in pieces. I really don’t understand how people can abuse others because of skin colour

  12. Melissa June 3, 2020

    Wow such beautiful and powerful words. This is absolutely marking a time in the history of the United States and will be shared for years to come. So powerful

  13. Aditi June 3, 2020

    Its so disheartening to see what the world is getting to, and trust me it’s not about just being black, it’s about being brown too and then numerous divisions in the name of states, religion, caste, creed, eating habits and the list can go on. We are no more humans, and I think that’s the only thing we ever need to be.

  14. Franze Garcia June 3, 2020

    Your children will be able to read this soon. I’m so sad about all these happenings in the world now. And this piece is really a heartfelt one.

  15. Kristyn June 3, 2020

    This is definitely a historic event in time. Not racism, that has been happening for far too long. But as I was watching the news coverage last night I just couldn’t help but feel all of the emotions.

  16. Lauren June 3, 2020

    This is truly tragic. I wish the world was better than this. Maybe one day…

  17. Loren Dietrich June 9, 2020

    Thank you for this. This has been on my mind for days and I really appreciate your insight.

  18. Emily June 9, 2020

    Wow, this is everything I want to say to my kids and couldn’t find the words. I am in tears and I too hope that my kids never experience exclusion based on ANY reason.

  19. Jami June 9, 2020

    This world is in an awful state right now. My heart has been heavy with so many emotions. I was taught that we are all God’s children and he loves us all the same. I was also taught to love one another. No mention of race and I will continue to teach my child the same.

  20. Melissa June 10, 2020

    Beautifully written. It’s not easy to talk to our children about current events but it is necessary at time. This is one of those times.


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