St. Paul Mayor: The murder of George Floyd is so painful for us

“We Are All Literally George”: Mayor of St. Paul reflects on generations of pain among African Americans

It may be the unlikely view of a black boy growing up in a big city, but Carter had a good reason – his father was one of the first African Americans in St. Paul in the police force.

“He became a police officer in the early 1970s after a lawsuit requiring the abolition of apartheid in the St. Paul Police Department. He was thus part of a class of African American officers who came with stories that they had not always remembered Carter.”

Carter said at first, some of his fellow white-collar colleagues told him frankly that they wouldn’t support him “no matter what happened” because he’s black.

After nearly four decades, Carter broke his own racial barrier, becoming the first African-American mayor in St. Paul in 2018 – a distinction that now comes with greater and more complex responsibility as twin cities erupt in pain and anger in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death after he pressed an officer White police on his knees on his neck. Derek Chauven, a former Minneapolis police officer, was charged with second-degree murder, and three other officers on the site are accused of aiding and abetting.

“The challenge we face is to be peaceful, but never be patient. We do not ask people to sit aside and wait while we slowly and gradually pause the supply of unarmed black men and women who have been killed by law enforcement. Let’s fight for the right change” Now, For the big structural change now, “Carter told CNN in a virtual interview from City Hall.

Perspective as a black man a racial profile countless times

The life of a 38-year-old black mayor with law enforcement is not limited to one like the son of a police officer. He said he was pulled and stopped by the police countless times, only because of his skin color.

“I had a broken tail light and I put the little red tape over it. The officer pulled me and explained to me that at the corner of the red tape you could see a small spot of white and that was Carter remembering” why pulled me. “

Even as a member of the city council, there were times when I withdrew. People would say, “Why didn’t you tell them who you are?” “And my answer is, if I have to be a member of the city council, if I have to be mayor, if I have to be the son of a police officer to be treated only with basic human dignity and not stop at” obeying all laws, perhaps this is the problem in the first place. the first “.

“I started to feel that this was not random. This is something very special for who I am and what I look like. It can easily create a wide gap between me as a resident, as a black youngster who grew up in this community and the officers I rely on to help keep me safe.”

When his house was robbed a few years ago, his first call to the police was.

“I went home and found that some strangers were in my bedroom. There was a stranger in my house, and some strangers had gone through my things and took very personal things from my house. At that moment we called the police and this irony is that we need these officers, we need them like Anyone. We need officers who recognize our humanity, who understand our societies, and who will appear and help. The paradox is that as much as I need a good police officer, a good police department I can trust. ”

His family’s pain in St. Paul is deep

Carter, who won the mayor’s race in a crowded field in 2017, is proud of the fourth generation of St. Paul’s residents, but his family has suffered a lot from the pain there due to the color of her skin.

“When I say I love this city. It is not like a new kind of love where the eyes are full of stars and I think everything is fine. More than that I know what your morning breath smells like a kind of love that can be built over time Carter said.”

His grandparents owned more than six commercial properties in what was known as the Rondo district, which was completely uprooted to make way for the highway there.

Carter explained that “members of our society received little pay for the dollar because of their property, were expelled from that property, and that property was bulldozed.”

The African Americans in St Paul were hardly the only community to have happened this – highways were built over black neighborhoods in cities across the country, from Detroit to Oakland.

“In our family’s story, the house was burned as a training training by the fire department,” Carter said.

“When we see people like George Floyd, they lose their lives in a horrific, informal way we saw in this video, when my father remembers that their families moved from old Rondo and can remember the fire department that burns his mother home as a training exercise. When we have this amazing wealth as a country centered in The evil and undeniable historical slavery establishment was the work of my forefathers, but we have very limited access to those same riches that that institution created, “he added.

A heartbreaking note for his 12-year-old daughter

Carter said he is struggling with what he says to his six children. But his 12-year-old daughter came to him from a realistic perspective of what happened to Floyd.

Carter recalled emotionally, admitting that she had broken his heart: “She said she does not think anyone should be surprised by what happened last week.”

“How is it? How did you not? I asked her,” Why do you say that? She said, “Because if we see ourselves being killed over and over in these videos and it seems like everyone is getting worse, people have to do something.”

He said he took the opportunity to tell his daughter what he was trying to say to all of the city’s residents who had been elected to work on it.

“We just had a conversation about this concept that we were sharing with people; peace but we never have patience. To say,” Yes, you are right, we have to do something. “It is really understood that people are angry like and said” They are shocked as they are, And that people run out of patience as is the case with these systems. “

Carter explained the importance of channeling frustration and anger into eliminating systemic racism, inequality and existing racial disparities.

“And we had a conversation about the fact that we have the opportunity to direct this energy, this frustration, this anger to destroy not the institutions of our neighbors, but in the destruction of systematic racism, all the inequalities and disparities that we are talking about nausea. Certainly all obstacles written in our laws, and in the precedents of our courts, And certainly in union contracts that make it very difficult to hold someone accountable when a black life is wrongly taken. ” He said.

“We are all literally George.”

Carter’s grandfather – the first Melvin Carter – was a Navy veteran who spent most of his life as a railroad carrier. But people did not call him Melvin or Mr. Carter, they called him George. That’s what all black men were called.

Carter said: “As a porter in Pullman, it didn’t really matter what your name was or how much experience or rank you were. Everyone was called George.”

There was a 2002 movie called “10,000 Black Men Named George”, which chronicled this humiliating phenomenon.

In many ways, he said, little has changed for black men.

“I was thinking today about the fact that killing and killing George Floyd, I think it is very painful for us and very personal because for every black man in America, whether you are a lawyer, architect, accountant or mayor, we know that there are no number of credentials. There is some measure of achievement. No amount of money can change the fact that we are all literally George. “

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