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Following the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day in my hometown, Minneapolis, Minnesota, the U.S. has seen uprisings across the country in cities like Chicago, Atlanta and Philadelphia. Many have expressed shock, via Black Twitter, that a city such as Minneapolis serves as the epicenter for the revolution, but such a notion should not come as a surprise.  Activism has always been an integral part of the culture of the people in Minneapolis.

With the death of Trayvon Martin in February 2012 in Sanford, Florida at the hands of George Zimmerman, Minneapolis mobilized and protested downtown, with me as a participant. In a not-so-popularized case, Jamar Clark was murdered by a Minneapolis Police Officer  in November 2015. Many Minneapolis residents occupied the 4th Minneapolis Police Precinct for 18 days to demand justice until they were forced to evacuate the precinct.

Again, in July 2016, residents of Minneapolis protested after the unjustified death of Philando Castile in Falcoln Heights, Minnesota by a Saint Anthony police officer. Organizers hosted “die-ins” downtown, and protesters blocked off the I35-W Bridge — the third busiest highway system in Minnesota. Unfortunately, the officer in the Philando Castile case was found not guilty. There were no charges brought against the officer in Jamar Clark’s case. The activism in Minneapolis is not unique to the 21st century; the city has seen this same activism throughout the 20th century as well.