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To Our Community

Dear Community,
How are you doing in this moment? Today at ACER, we chose to spend our workday checking on each other. The work we were called to today, was to mourn and to share our feelings of grief and sorrow together. The soul of a Black man was stolen in broad day light by people who are entrusted to serve and protect. The death of George Floyd has left me sorrowful.
Yesterday, I missed two meetings that I was supposed to Chair. I had spent the whole day preparing myself to be brave to chair these meetings because the committees do important work. This was in between fielding phone calls from community members and allies about the police killing. What are you planning to do about it? Is a constant question I have been asked. As an organization, we were made aware by our partners of a protest they were planning. We chose to support the protest. I also received calls from a few youths in the community who wanted to attend the protest and wanted me to take them. I debated this for 2 seconds because of my impending obligations. Then I remembered how on April 4th, 1999 as a young immigrant college student, still very new in this country when Amadou Diallo, a young Guinean immigrant was brutally murdered by the New York police for standing in front of his apartment building. I recalled how I felt so scared and confused. I lived in a lily-white neighborhood, went to a predominantly white school, and had no one to process these feelings with me. I was told New York is crazy. It could never happen in Minnesota. Minnesota is a ‘nice’ place. I was told it was a one-off incident. A mistake.
Fast forward to today, post Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Jamar Clark, Philando Castile, we are mourning George Floyd.  I chose to support our youths to help them process their feelings of insecurity, confusion, righteous anger, outrage, fear and outpouring of love for this gentleman that they did not know, but also know in so many other ways. George Floyd is all of us Black in Minnesota. I also chose to listen to them as a first-generation Black immigrants who are born and raised here, whose struggles I can empathize with, but know I can never fully comprehend.
Here is what I am choosing to do as a Black African mother. I am choosing to listen to our youth and support them as they take on leadership roles in addressing issues that impact their community. Here are 2 examples of how you can join me today.
1. Join Collins Oppong’s podcast today at 4:30 p.m. as he discusses this issue.
2.  President Jael Kerandi – a young Kenyan lady and the President of the University of     Minnesota’s Student’s Council has taken a stand and is calling on the University of     Minnesota to action! Please take the time to read her statement and sign her petition.
3. Share these opportunities and more ideas with others. Let us keep this conversation and     action going in our community.
 In Love and Solidarity,
Nelima Sitati Munene
Executive Director, ACER, Inc.

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