If Covid-19 and 10 weeks of quarantine hadn’t been enough rocking the land, then came the horrendous death of George Floyd. I can’t watch the video again. It’s so painful and was so avoidable. Why? Why does it keep happening? And thank God for smartphones, because these things have been going on forever; there just wasn’t anyone to film it. Thank God for that video.

I have driven past that corner where it happened, 38th & Chicago, so many times. I always noticed the name of the corner store, Cup Foods, which seemed like an obvious but awkward play on Cub Foods, the giganto supermarket up the way. The supermarket where I shopped with my daughter, who lived near there, which is now trashed and looted.

I was heartsick that this murder happened here in Minneapolis, where we pride ourselves on our progressivism and embrace of multiculturalism. Immigrants come here because we’re known to be welcoming. But beneath this has been a truth to be ashamed of: that Minneapolis has the highest racial disparities in home ownership, wealth and education in the U.S. And the police department here has a troubled history dealing with blacks — swept under the rug, now brought to light.

I only discovered the north side, home to the largest African American population here, had only been there for the first time, after nearly 10 years of living in Minneapolis. People like me don’t go there because of its reputation for crime and because there’s nothing to draw outsiders. It’s a food desert, and also a desert of theaters, restaurants, and businesses. I finally went there for three reasons: one, to help Jewish Community Action with foreclosure prevention during that crisis, and second, to tour what had been the old Jewish neighborhood, the little synagogues now turned into African American churches. It was Sunday morning, and joyous sounds of gospel music rang out from the doors of the old Tifereth Israel. And finally, I took a tour of Prince’s old neighborhood. There we learned about the city housing covenants that for decades kept Jews and African Americans out of many Minneapolis neighborhoods, which is brought both communities to the North Side. Segregation. A neighborhood nobody went to. Apparently, the two people coexisted, but when riots broke out in volatile 1967, the Jews got scared and had accumulated enough wealth to move to the areas that would have them, like St. Louis Park.

After a couple of recent nights of riots and wholesale looting and vandalism, much of it apparently by people who came not to mourn George Floyd but to take advantage of a volatile situation, there were signs of hope. On Saturday morning the sun came out, the perfect day. And there were loads of volunteers who had come out with brooms to help clean up Lake Street and its businesses, most of them small businesses owned by minorities and immigrants.

To be continued…