My Hometown Is Minneapolis

This is a part of a comment sent to a local public radio station for a segment about protesting in America, which is washing over the United States after George Floyd was brutally murder under the knee of a cop.

My Hometown

My hometown is Minneapolis. I am white and of Norwegian heritage. My father was a Lutheran minister. We moved to Minneapolis from South Dakota just before I entered middle school. I hated the city and longed for the vast and empty prairies that my family had left, but in the course of my time living in North Minneapolis, I grew to love this city, the people, and culture deeply.

I attended North High School, which at the time was considered one of the most dangerous high schools in Minneapolis. There were riots at this school regularly back then. White people were a minority. At times, it was very hard such as the day I was punched in the head by a black man riding past me on his bike while I was walking to my school bus after school. This shook me deeply. But I participated fully in my school. I ran track and cross country and went to state in cross country skiing. I grew into my school and made many, many friends of many different skin colors than me. 

After seeing George Floyd brutally killed, all my early years flooded back into me. I could feel the land and the people—and it was crying out with the pain of injustice and racial tensions that so many of my childhood friends had to live within. Friends who had showed me how to endure pain and injustice with courage and grace.

I Never Protested Until

I have never considered myself a person who protests, but when the Woman’s March took place, I was compelled to go down. To my great surprise, not only did I go down, but I interviewed more than 30 people attending the march. I was terrified to go up to people and ask to record them and their reasons for coming, but I did it. Everyone I asked was happy to express why they were there. As I grew more comfortable going up to people and doing this, I realized I was falling back on my implicit bias and only going up to older white women. So, I challenged myself to find individuals outside of my invisible, internal bias. This is when I met Sioux Z Dezbah who protested at the Standing Rock protests, which had occurred before the Women’s March. Police had turned violent, and she had been hit in the eye with a rubber bullet or tear gas canister that caused her to almost lose her eye. 

She was spectacular. I have attached this interview.  I went on to interview as many different individuals than myself as I could.

Sioux Z Dezbah at Women’s March on Washington — 2017

I Am Afraid of the Police

Now, I realize I am afraid of what the police will do. Last night at Lafayette Park spectacularly demonstrates why I harbor this fear (i.e., Trump’s photo op at the church).  And, the images of so many violent confrontations with peaceful protesters around the country is greatly disturbing. I understand that there are agitating, anarchist agents at work. But there are more peaceful people who are in pain. I am in pain. My country is in pain. There must be a better way.

The Mayor of DC said in a press conference after Trump’s photo op and what resulted afterwards (as well as before) that she was overwhelmed and could not take the time to discriminant between peaceful protestors and nefarious agents. I don’t buy that. If we don’t take the time now to understand what is going on, when will we understand this pain and hear it and honor it? Yes, the nefarious agents need to be detained, but hurting peaceful protestors, detaining peaceful protestors… I am distributed by this.

This is not the right direction now. Just as the coronavirus has made all of us stop and take more time to do ordinary things like going to the grocery store and change our behavior to protect each other. Now is a time to do the same around issues of white privilege and structural racism that have been baked into our systems, which are unsustainable. We need to take the time to find the people who are clinging to their fear of losing power and looting and hurting police from the peaceful protestors.  We should not be hurting and arresting peaceful people who are joining together to embrace a new, braver, better America.

Like the heroes of Swan Street in DC: Protesters Shelter in DC Home Overnight After Being ‘Corralled,’ Pepper-Sprayed by Police

Also, women have long suffered from the stringent, misogynistic, brutal rules made by fearful white men. I experienced this in Denver when I was hit by a car while biking. The white, male police officer who came to the scene followed me to the hospital and harassed me for not wearing a helmet instead of looking for the driver to never even stopped and there were many witnesses he could have talked to get details about the car and driver. But instead he followed me to the emergency room and then threaten to write me a ticket and make me appear in court for not wearing a helmet. For goodness sake, it’s on me if I landed on my head when I fell. Rather I landed on my tailbone, breaking it, which was very painful and frightening enough. This was a mild case of police abuse, but the fear is real, and it spans across every interaction that bad Cops have with ordinary people who they are supposed to protect. I understand the mistrust. I have it too.

The Showdown in Lafayette Square — Are We Losing Our Democracy?

As more is coming out about what happened on Monday, there is good reason to fear the police, especially a militarized police being directed by a leader who interested only in amalgamating his power. For anyone interested in drilling down on the truth, here are two podcast produced by The Daily, one aired on June 4, 2020 and the other on June 5, 2020.

The Showdown in Lafayette Square: What happened outside the White House, and what it reveals about the debate inside over using the military to quell protests. Click the link to listen to this 31 minute podcast.


Why They’re Protesting: “Hate killed Mr. Floyd,” one said. “This kind of conduct has been allowed for far too long against people of color. And enough is enough.” This podcast is a series of interviews with individuals and what motivated them to take to the streets and protest now. It is a series of stunning interviews.


Another interview that aired on June 4 on FreshAir with Anne Applebaum is a must hear. She is an expert in authoritative governments and how people rationalize their complicity or collaboration in allowing a dictator to rise and grab power, then ruthlessly rule. She warns the United States is closer to this moment than we think it is.

Reality is complicated… and now it is more important than ever before to hold competing realities simultaneously in our mind to understand what is happening now. It is complicated and there are no simply narratives to explain it. It takes all of us to do the work to understand it, thus the title to Applebaum’s article in The Atlantic.

Resist the Urge to Simplify the Story: As protests multiply, uncertainty abounds—and Trump is using it to frighten Americans far from any violence. JUNE 3, 2020 Written by Anne Applebaum Staff writer at The Atlantic Image: AP/Getty/The Atlantic

In the FreshAir interview, Applebaum tells how Trump’s intentional effort (along with many, many others) to simplify what is happening across the country due to the brutal death of George Floyd by a cop is an assault on democracy and a dangerous power grab — to which the Republican Senate is complicit like the Russian Duma or Hungarian governing bodies. She says that his and others attempt to blame the radical left and liberals as well as Antifa as the only reasons for the riots and looting is an intentional effort to divide Americans and grab more power.

Our own media doesn’t help by seeking the better shot on live TV of a trash can or police car on fire rather than a bunch of peaceful protestors doing the electric slide. Even our social networks tend to focus on these micro parts of a much bigger reality, thus amplifying or distorting them.

Applebaum says very poignantly that what we are witnessing is a Nation committing suicide (this is in the FreshAir interview when it is available), and history will judge harshly those who have been complicit in the destruction of democracy.


Another important interview occurring today was on The Kojo Nnamdi Show with an interview with Greg Carr Chair, Dept. of Afro-American Studies, Howard University; @AfricanaCarr. A brief overview of this critical piece of information includes:

The Civil Rights Fight Continues In 2020

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has sparked a movement.

All across the country, people are stepping out and rallying against police brutality and institutionalized racism. The District has seen a surge in protests, as thousands of residents have gathered for the last week.

As riots and looting remain a part of these protests, many see a comparison to the riots after the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The comparisons between the fight for civil rights in the 1960s and today are easy to make, but how much do they have in common? What does this mean for the movement today and what happens next?”

A Better Way Forward

I think what the Sheriff in Flint, Michigan did before Trump’s disgraceful photo op is one model to follow. He put down his weapons and asked the people he knew and was there to protect what they needed him to do. They said walk with them, and he did! We need bridge builders now… not frighten white men who are blowing up our fragile community connections (I include our President and the disruptors taking advantage of and/or trying to hijack this extremely important moment).

Sheriff Who Marched With Protesters: ‘It Was Time To Take The Helmet Off’ | TODAY

I have been hearing the chant in my head that the white men in Charlottesville’s repeated over and over during that horrible gathering, which killed Heather Heyer. They chanted, “You Will Not Replace Us.”  What terrible fear and smallness this chant embodies. I hear a new chant: “We are all connected.”  

When we come to understand that ‘Your pain is my pain. Your weakest moment is mine too. Your suffering and loss of justice and human dignity is my loss of justice and human dignity. When we help each other to achieve justice, fairness, equality for everyone (no matter the color of one’s skin), we heal each other. And, as we heal, we can help Earth heal and recover from the damage we (the human race) has inflicted upon our planet.’  

Climate Change Is Part of This Wave of Despair Too

Climate change is a part of this too because the same isolationist, authoritative, supremacist thinking is what is destroying our beautiful planet and accelerating Climate Change. The front end of the effects of Climate Change are already hurting and killing the people who have done the least to damage our world. The vast majority of people being impacted are black and brown and poor individuals who need to migrate due to deteriorating climate that is causing droughts, locus plagues, disease, lack of water, and wars. Then, when hurting humans try to escape these conditions in Europe and the US, they face another massive injustice with wave after wave of the anti-immigration policies thrown up against them, trapping them in dangerous places and situations.

Earth –Drawn by Bebe

Bridges to Hope, to Justice for All, and to a More Beautiful and Sustainable World

When we build bridges to justice and to hope and to sustainability, we build a more beautiful and sustainable world for all living beings on Earth.

Right now, in the USA, it feels like we are losing our democracy. We are no longer the land of the free and the brave. Rather, we are falling into a self-made chasm created by fear, injustice, intolerance, and oppression fueled by greed and a hunger to hold onto power. This hopeful moment of grief and outrage is being hijacked by small groups of people who are being selfish, or even worse, seeking to divide us. And, divided we fall…divided our beautiful world falls.

Just before Trump’s disgraceful use of  St. John’s Episcopal Church for a photo op of his power and authority, I had taken pictures of the moon rising over the Potomac. The juxtaposition of this beautiful and peaceful moment followed shortly thereafter by Trump’s use of force to clear Lafayette Park (the people’s park) just so he could walk across it for his photo op shocked me.

Going Against the Tide — Drawing by Bebe

Your pain is my pain

I made this video and post as a creative act of defiance to capture this strange juxtaposition and terrible moment:

Moonrise Over the Potomac…Just Before Trump’s Photo Op

This is a moment symbolizing the Re-Feudalization of America. We are at the edge of turning the United State of America into an Authoritative, Dictatorial, Undemocratic Nation & Trump had a bible in his hand… give me a break. His deplorable photo op and call to use the military if governors could not stop the protests themselves occurred on June 1, 2020, if you can believe that. And now, he is building a fence around the people’s park.

It is important to remember that nature goes on so beautifully and perfectly without us… it’s our decision (isn’t it) if we decide to stick around here on beautiful Earth… or if she shakes us off, which she can do so easily…(more likely we will do that for her)

We are all connected–aren’t we. Your pain is my pain. Your weakest moment is mine too. When we help each other to achieve justice, fairness, equality for everyone (no matter the color of one’s skin), we heal each other, and as we heal, we help Earth keep being so beautiful (and she heals us too…). This little movie is a creative act of defiance against the forces that are crushing us. We need to join together like never before… all around the world.

Moonrise Over the Potomac — June 1, 2020 — Music: Track — Alex G (Indie)

As I posted the video and words above, my friend in Norway posted this:

All is good. America is mad. USA and Brazil governed by demented psychopaths. Pandemic. Collective insanity in the world. Climate crisis. Extinction of species. People staring at small machines most of the time, seeing bullshit, vulgarity and trivialities. Disconnected. Arguments with ghosts and shadows. Truthers the liars, pro-lifers the killers, antiracists the racists, “we are waking up!” from the most asleep, cops the criminals, those with vision lacking power, those with power lacking vision, those speaking most, least to say. Pollution. Plastic, water, air, soil, language, mind, conduct. Hypnotic memetic parasites feeding on human attention, funded by internet profiteers, distracting from everything valuable. Numbness. Science fiction entertainment: evil, murder, death and doom on the menu. Lovers divided. Brother against brother, sister against sister, father against mother, parent against child, neighbour against neighbour, human against human, based on misunderstanding. Disease. Seldom ease. Worried, restless, wanting, rushing, thinking, thoughts of empty babble: state of modern mind. Round and round and round. Dreams replaced, laid to waste, by crap, with haste. Until this life shall meet its end. Finger pushes send. Message into void placing bet. Hope for something yet to get. And yet. All is good.

His comments resonated so closely with the juxtaposition I was trying to capture in my video and words. So, I shared my video and some of my post.

He responded saying: “Wow this video really hit home with me!😀 I know just this feeling, from some of those enormously wonderful summer days when the whole world explodes in wild beauty and song. This really hits the essence of what I wrote about last night as I was supposed to go to sleep, when then this sentence «All is good» suddenly came to me like a wise whisper. I realized that this simple everyday expression which points to an eternal truth, is also a container that can hold all the painful and mad absurdities of our time safely. Like that great big sky we catch a glimpse of in the video is always in the background, looking over and holding us, safely and patiently and gloriously.”

I said: “Yes, this is such a raw and painful moment in the US. You could not have known what was happening here, nor did I know what Trump was going to do as I filmed this beauty in DC just before one of the most disgraceful moments of our modern age in the US. I felt the juxtaposition of our collective human now with nature’s beauty was so powerful. This is what we will lose if we lose ourselves.”

Thank You Because You Are the Change We Need Now

This link included all the interviews from the Women’s March of 2017

If you cannot protest, take the time NOW to understand reality from many different angles and perspectives. We all have time right NOW to understand our reality better because of COVID, so take it to become informed, to become an expert. This is the strong medicine we are all going to need for what needs to be done next — when the protests calm down and COVID subsides (or doesn’t and we go into lockdown again) — when we emerge from this NOW, we have a devastated economic landscape, fractured communities, broken justice system (as well as just about every other system)… in short, we are in trouble.

Stay informed! I rely on you and you rely on me to understand Now.

Thank you for reading! Your time and attention is precious because where each of us puts our time and attention reality grows. I choose to put mine as much as I can on peace, love, and understanding. I choose justice for all living beings.

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Sustain the Flame

Two years ago, the United States was flipped upside down. In response, millions and millions of people walked or took metro or rode their bikes or got on buses to the mall in Washington, D.C. They came from across the country, and if they couldn’t get to D.C., they marched where they were–and around the world!

I went too and interviewed more than 30 people that day. Following is the blog I wrote along with a one minute short and the citizen’s documentary I made from that day. In the one minute short, a marcher holds a sign saying “This is not Normal.” Now, I think we see just how abnormal this period has been, and how dangerous it is. We can and must heal the divide that has put us here. Trump is not the cause but a symptom of a deeper wound. So, once again, our stories matter, especially those that reach across the divisions that threw us into this moment. This is work we need to do together and with compassion, understanding, and love. It does not mean blindly accepting the current reality because this reality where Trump claims “I alone can fix it” is taking us down the wrong road. It is a road the world has been down before for Hitler claimed he alone could fix Germany’s problems more than 75 years ago. And so, two years later, every person’s voice and story is still very much needed from both sides so we can see with greater clarity our shared reality and heal the wounds that have put us here. In the following piece, you will see the seeds of my growing awareness of the importance the stories we tell about ourselves, our families, our communities, country, and world.

2016 Post:

Women’s March 2016 — Photo by Bébé
Women’s March 2016 — Photo by Bébé

I don’t like crowds, and protests cause prickly sensations to crawl up and down my body for I am by nature a deeply shy human being, but I feel propelled to go down to the mall, and not only attend the protest, but also to interview people and find out why they have come and what their fears are. I feel like I need to gather their voices like water in a bucket ahead of the DC swamp that is about to be drained. Pushing me forward like a powerful wave is a story I began to write 5 years earlier that is set 150 years in the future. Devastating climate change has utterly reshaped the social-ecologic-geopolitical order of the world. Nation-states fall due to the enormous economic burden of trying to engineer themselves out of climate disasters. In their place, huge corporate states rise. As this new order takes form, there are good corporate leaders taking us in the right direction (e.g., banning all fossil fuels), and there are bad corporate leaders taking the world the other way. One evil leader eliminates the good leader, erases all his work, and turns the world, perhaps irrevocably, in the wrong direction. This is where my fictional story begins—and sadly, this is where our country seems to be today; a moment when conscious forward movement has halted, and now rapidly recedes pulled by intense yearnings for the past, which looks safer than pressing forward into an unknowable future—a force being harnessed by nationalist and populist movements worldwide. But this is an illusion to make America Great by looking backwards for one cannot step into the same spot of a river twice because it constantly flows forward, just as consciousness flows forward through time. Turning our backs on where we are going is as good as sailing blind into the oncoming rocks. As a country, we are undergoing a “pretty big” identity crisis where the thin veneer of what we thought was a normal and healthy democracy is cracking, and now we boldly step into the children’s fairy tale of the Emperor Wearing No Clothes(or perhaps this is just liberals feeling this way today as conservatives used this same metaphor 8 years earlier). Regardless of whether liberals are justified to feel this way now or conservatives were justified to feel this way before, the more important question is what do we do now when more than half of the country feels left behind?

Women’s March 2016 — Photo by Bébé

I don’t have answers, but protest is a start. It is a sign our democracy is still resilient and flexible enough to self-correct when the pendulum swings too far to the left or right. Protest is a counter force that emerges to try to rebalance when the collective balance gets knocked off center. After protest, comes the hard work of finding a way forward that does not exclude, abandon, or diminish any group of people in this country (or world)—one that can stay cohesive and evolve. Every person regardless of if they are black, white, brown, rich, poor, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Buddhists, immigrant, legal, or “illegal” is vital to this process for every individual is a part of the fabric of our collective reality at this moment in time. When even one person is left behind, injured—physically or psychologically, ripped out, or banned from entering, the collective fabric of society is damaged and weakened. Thus, the work of moving forward needs to include everyone’s voice so that a bigger, better narrative can form and evolve, one that is more conscious than the one Trump has temporarily tapped into through the fear-based rhetoric Steve Bannon whispers into his ear based on the Alt Right narrative, which is strangely one-sided, warped, off-center, immature, and backwards looking. Why is this important—because narrative is a powerful device that acts like a high-powered antenna capturing and focusing an individual’s attention onto a narrow band that can be harnessed by the narrative creators—good or bad, narratives are powerful!

Women’s March 2016 — Photo by Bébé

When I set out on January 21, I did not understand any of this. I was simply compelled by my fictional story to go down to the Women’s March and gather voices of people who came from across the country to express their fears and concerns. As I talked with people, I felt reassured in my own unsettled feelings; then as I assembled their voices into this documentary, I felt re-energized to continue my own forms of resistance to find a better way forward.  I began to understand by collecting and sharing our voices, we can come to understand each other better, which is essential to define the emerging narrative that will help us holdthe centerof our core democratic beliefs and system for this moment in time galvanizes how just how precious and fragile democracy is everywhere in the world. Here in the United States, it’s hard for me to believe anyone really wants to tear mothers or fathers from their children simply because they didn’t get into the country the right way.

Women’s March 2016 — Photo by Bébé

Listen to Kraig Moss’s interview on the CBC where he talks about going to 45 Trump rallies and was called Trump’s Troubadour, but now he feels betrayed by him and terrible about all the families being ripped apart due to aggressive ICE raids, arrests, and deportations of individuals—tactics that seem motivated more to meet quotas set by the new administration rather than really finding the “dangerous” illegals to deport. [Kraig Moss]

Do we really need to hire 15,000 more border agents and build a useless wall—what about employing innovative technology to do this work. I understand there is a need to have a lawful, orderly, and fair way to get into the country, but do we need to fix it this way—by tearing families apart and taking money and resources away from critical services such as after school programs that disadvantaged youth need so desperately, not to mention the long list of things Trump’s budget proposes to cut in the name of putting America First. Rather, his budget looks more and more like the citizens of America are being put last as a fearful, selfish, cruel, militaristic, and unpredictable (perhaps even insane) country emerges instead.

Women’s March 2016 — Photo by Bébé

Now, we must gather our voices and listen to each other—and, most importantly, we must understand and respectdiverse points of view in order to wrestle back control of our collective destiny from the forces that have taken advantage of healthy differences between the left and the right, made them starker, and widen the natural gap; then, these forces have pushed both sides to the very edge of the chasm that opened where the darkness of the human soul looms larger and more threatening than it has in a long time—hurtling us into this moment! We have entered a time when truth, compassion, and dignity are under attack. Even science and the judicial system are being called into question by our elected leaders. What is even more disturbing is individuals we have elected to govern, specifically the ones holding the majority vote, continue to go along with and protect bad behavior (e.g., bouts of extreme narcissism, pathological lying). It is something we have not seen in the United States for many years, and perhaps we have forgotten how to recognize such a threat.

In my fictional story, my characters’ deal with a similar threat and must rely on empathy, intuition, and love to survive. I believe we must call upon similar super powerstoday! These qualities of human nature exist inside all of us, and I believe stories of every kind help us consolidate our inner resources so we can learn how to be better human beings.

Women’s March 2016 — Photo by Bébé

Stories can be powerful places where people can go to gain insight—even wisdom—and to be re-energized. Perhaps even more important, stories help us recognize threats that come from within our own psyche and inspire us to resist bad behavior and destructive choices. Perhaps they provide a short cut in learning how to do the hard work of self-reflection needed to be a wiser, kinder, and more courageous person. Some stories even show us how to recognize and respond to existential threats and provide a pathway off a course that could destroy an entire civilization, even the world. We can change the fabric of today’s political toxic rhetoric because we are the fabric; we are its weavers! We can help each other address the important issues confronting our nation by creating space for every voice to be expressed, heard, and understood.

Women’s March 2016 — Photo by Bébé

We choose the quality of the thread we contribute to our shared reality through our thoughts, choices, and actions; therefore, I believe we can Hold the Centerand stop this receding tide of human consciousness as witnessed by the Women’s March, the day without immigrants, the day without women, the march of Native Nations, the Science and People’s Climate Marches, and many other marches, protests, and gatherings as well as a host of emerging organizations such as Indivisible, Better Angels, and others that when combined with new tools capable of linking us together in coordinated and purposeful action such as DemocracyOS and Resistbot create a powerful counter force!

Women’s March 2016 — Photo by Bébé

I know this is easier said than done, but the process has already begun, and this is my small contribution to the emerging narrative that will guide us forward in becoming a more inclusive, conscious people. As we weave our voices together, we create a bigger, better, more powerful counter narrative. One strong enough to reabsorb the distributing Alt Right narrative and pull both sides back closer together so a bridge can once again exist where true democratic discourse can take place and where we can once again set about the work of building and sustaining a healthier, inclusive, creative, and more compassionate society; not the polarized, distracted, mean-spirited one that has grown out of the gap.

Women’s March 2016 — Photo by Bébé

Together, we grow stronger and wiser for this is the flame—and each of us has a role to play in guarding it because it lives inside us. Do not let yours go out…share your voice, listen to each other (especially opposing views), and participate in the slow and steady work of creating a better, more healthy democracy for everyone—one that shines once again like a bright light that can guide the world if we let it! Thank you to everyone who spoke with me at the march! Your voices are the narrative of the documentary I have made on the Women’s March, and they are helping create a bigger, better narrative rising in great resistance against the fearful one temporarily possessing the country. And, thank you for watching this documentary—for you are creators through the simple act of applying your timeand attention—indeed, this simple act (often taken for granted) is powerful!

Women’s March 2016 — Photo by Bébé

We are the light, and we sustain the flamethrough our personal narratives, so infuse wisdom into yours—it exists all around us—it’s in every moment of every day and in every thought as we flow together through time!

— By Bébé

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