BY ELINA KOLSTAD
I have never appreciated having a garden more than I have this year. In 2020 my garden is a sort of destination in our new socially distant reality, therapy in turbulent times, and supplements groceries from the store, allowing me to stretch out shopping trips a little more. I am still a novice. I’m still learning how to properly space out plants and the differences between cold weather and warm weather crops. My garden is a bit of a mess, just like me. I tend to be pretty sloppy about my weeding. The upshot of this is that I have unwittingly ended up with patches of milkweed and sunflowers in my vegetable patch. The sunflowers by some magical happenstance are growing in the patch that I planted my lettuces in, providing shade and hopefully some cooling. I think I will attempt the combination again in the future. Many people probably look at my garden and think it’s a chaotic mess, but I find it beautiful.
There is a kind of beauty that only arises out of chaos. An organic, messy beauty that was not the result of a master plan, one mind, one voice. This is the beauty seen at the site of the George Floyd Memorial at 38th and Chicago. This chaotic beauty is part of what makes the space resonate as sacred, it is a coming together of many voices, many hearts, connected and yearning for a common goal. I am glad that there is discussion of preserving this space somehow, but I am concerned with what the result will be in our city, which is so entrenched in top-down approaches.
Look at the city’s response to the protests, organizing, uprising after George Floyd’s murder. The city has turned police reform and accountability over to the Minneapolis Foundation, headed by former Mayor R.T. Rybak. Not only did Rybak have the chance to enact police reform as mayor and failed, the idea that one organization or one individual can adequately tackle the issues with policing in Minneapolis is fantasy. Solving the problems with how we police, what and who we police will take many perspectives. Many voices. We have those voices. Established activists like Nekima Levy Armstrong, Michelle Gross and Jaylani Hussein. We also have amazing young activists who have shone in the recent protests through organizations like Reclaim the Block and Black Visions Collective. Not only should these voices be at the table, they should be leading the conversation about how to best move forward toward a future that truly ensures liberty and justice for all.
I understand why the city is wary of this path. It invites chaos, it eliminates top-down control, it allows for outcomes we can’t even fathom at this moment. But anything less is bowing in complicity to business as usual. Many prefer the mediocrity of the knowable. It’s comfortable and feels safe. But this moment calls for chaos. Only the chaos of a truly democratic process will build the beautiful future we all deserve.