Dear Seward neighborhood and community members:
We must protect our most vulnerable from police violence. Stop calling the cops on people who are just existing. Stop criminalizing people for being Black.
On Thursday, August 8, 2019 outside of Cycles for Change, the police were called by an employee of a nearby Fairview-associated business because they saw one of our employees parked in a nearby church parking lot. Three Fairview security officers arrived and aggressively interrogated our staff member, who was trying to move their car, before staff from C4C and our neighbors, Voices for Racial Justice, arrived to vouch for them. Eventually, they were persuaded to cancel the call to the police.
The stated reason for involving the police is that our employee parked in an unapproved spot. If that were the whole story, a parking ticket could have been issued, or at worst, their car could have been towed. The police should never have been called. When pressed, the Fairview employee cited that there are often “homeless” people “doing drugs” in the parking lot. None of those things were happening. The police were called because our employee is Black and was singled out as someone who didn’t “belong.”
Cycles for Change’s focus is to empower and uplift marginalized people and communities. We center Black, Indigenous, People of Color; and Femme, Trans, Women in our work. We work to make places where we “belong.”
We share our building with the only barber shop in the neighborhood. As well as organizations doing racial justice and prison justice work. C4C serves diverse people as they buy bikes, redeem bike vouchers, and attend our free Open Shop. Our neighbors live in the Seward Towers and walk, bike, and use transit on Franklin Ave. We employ Black and Brown, queer and trans, and autistic people. Calling the police does not keep us safe; it can likely escalate into deadly situations.
Join us in creating a safe neighborhood:
- Come into our shop, meet our wonderful staff, volunteer, and see what a great community space we have for getting your bicycle needs met.
- Attend our upcoming Community Safety Conversation in October. More info TBA. You can donate to C4C and say it is a tribute to “community safety conversation” if you want to help us pay for staff time, childcare, food, etc.
- Familiarize yourself with alternatives to calling the police.
- Unpack your implicit bias and learn to recognize dog whistle racism.
- Fairview and University of Minnesota employees: make administration aware of this and other incidents of racialized violence.
Black Lives Matter. We are asking our community to do better. Stop calling cops on people who are just existing because you think we don’t “belong.” We belong here, and we deserve safety and respect.