Following the killing of George Floyd while in police custody, the Twin Cities and beyond have become activated in many ways. Throughout a week of many protests, the community of the Twin Cities has formed a strong bond. In addition to demonstrations, communities have come together to operate donation banks, distribution centers, first aid, clothing drives, clean-ups, and more.
On Wednesday, Morning Show host Jill Riley connected with DJ, musician, and fellow radio host Sophia Eris, to discuss how each individual can utilize their own strengths to help their community.
Jill Riley: Sophia, how are you doing?
Sophia Eris: I’m good, how are you?
I’m doing alright. Sophia, if we could jump in and if you could give us an idea and paint a little picture of what life has been like for you, in the past week, since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
For me, personally, I’ve been trying to figure out where I’m best needed, [and] where my help is needed the most. I think it’s important, at this time, to understand your gifts and strengths, stay in that lane, and truly activate yourself in that lane. There’s so many ways to fight for the justice of George Floyd. You could be on the front lines. You could be at the protests. You could be healing. You could be donating your time at the local food donation times, and making sure they stay organized, and continue to feed people in need. You could be donating. You could be supplying. There are so many ways to help right now, because our city has not only gone through immense trauma and pain, but now we’re on the other side and trying to figure out how to rebuild ourselves.
I’ve seen this sort of shift. The protests are still there. The call for change is still there. The call for justice is still there, but there’s a shift in what’s happening as people now are saying, “How can I help? What can I do to help?”
There’s plenty of resources to find out how to help. I, personally, have been using my social media platform to constantly try to spread knowledge and ways to help, if you don’t know how. Since everything’s gone down, everyone has become activated, like, “Okay. How do we help our community? How do we stay together?” We’ve basically been policing ourselves, and protecting our own neighborhoods. The neighborhoods all know each other now. It’s actually a beautiful thing. The blocks all know each other’s names now, and everyone is coming together to protect ourselves as much as we can. If there’s any silver lining that’s come out of any of this, it’s how amazing the community has truly come together and really shown that they can really hold it down, but there’s still a lot of work to be done, and there’s definitely not one way to do it. There are so many angles to come at it, like a car can’t move one wheel. It’s very important that everyone understands the way that they are best utilized in this fight that we’re doing right now, change that we’re doing right now, and healing that we’re doing right now.
Can you give out your social media handles?
My platform is @SophiaEris, and I would definitely follow Black Visions Collective. They’re a really amazing group that has been providing a lot of information and updates that are really needed, at this moment, to help out in the best way. We need each other. We’re all we have. right now, and so it’s really important to listen to each other and spread the correct information. If you are going to spread information, make sure it’s correct and reliable. We need each other, right now.
Sophia, have you been out there? Have you participated in protests? What has your experience been?
I’ve been, personally, spending a lot of time at Pimento. Pimento has been an amazing staple in the community at collecting food, and making sure people are staying fed and helped, at this time. [They have] everything from first aid kits to food to diapers to wipes. I’ve been spending a lot of my time there, helping organize, donate, and collect food, and making sure everyone’s okay. They’ve been doing amazing. Other places, like Modist Brewing, have been doing the same thing. Nur-D has been killing it, and I’ve definitely been following his lead, as well, of making sure that we’re helping people out there, and collecting things. We are the reason why they have groceries right now. It’s a lot. I’ve been personally at Pimento. They’ve been doing an amazing job, but everyone’s kind of spread out throughout the community. I know Tin Cup, in St. Paul, has been doing the same thing. I would definitely look for places like that. Definitely, help donate goods right now, because people are in definite need of that at the moment.
Thanks for checking in, and I just wonder if there are any more words you’d like to share with The Current audience.
Stay activated. Like I said, everyone can play a role in this to help, and we need each other. We need everyone’s gifts and strengths right now to help heal and rebuild the city and demand justice. We still are waiting for justice for George Floyd. There are still three more cops that still have yet to be punished, so we still have a lot of work to do. Remember to take care of yourselves. This is now a marathon. It’s not a race. Mental health is extremely important, right now, so if you’re able to recharge yourself, that’s really important. You’re not going to be able to do anything if you’re burnt out, yourself, too. Take care of yourself, and take care of others as much as possible.
This interview was recorded Wednesday morning, June 3. For updates on criminal charges and other developments, see MPR News.