Midwest Small Towns Fuel Racial Justice

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Day 109: Stay Safe Minnesota

Peoples from tiny Midwestern towns with predominatly white population are marching for racial justice — and getting results.

In a Washington Post OpEd, Judy Muller (a professor emerita at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism) writes that peoples from tiny, predominantly white towns took part in a recent protest of George Floyd death in police custody. “I really do believe the people of our town think this is terrible, what happened. We want to show support and hope there is some justice”, said Kieffer Parrino — a Republican Mayor to Muller.

As isolated as we are, we don’t want to be isolated. Especially when something this big is happening in the world. We want to have a connection to it.

Craig Childs, Norwood Colorado resident (source: Washington Post)

“The protests reflect demographic changes that social scientists have long predicted would hit America around 2020 as the country moves closer toward becoming majority-minority. As this young, diverse cohort enters adulthood, it’s challenging the cultural norms and political views of older white Americans, said Stefan M. Bradley, a historian and professor of African American studies at Loyola Marymount University,” writes Muller.

In Washington Post, reporters Tim Craig and Aaron Williams write: “A Washington Post review of census data released last month showed that minorities make up nearly half of the under-30 population nationwide compared to just 27 percent of the over-55 population, signaling that the United States is on the brink of seismic changes in culture, politics and values.”

“These Black Lives Matter protesters don’t always prioritize defunding police departments or tearing down Confederate statues. Their goals are simpler but perhaps just as revolutionary: to force white neighbors not used to encountering so many black and brown faces in their towns to acknowledge their experiences with racism,” write Post’s Craig and Williams.

The number of young people of color living in the Midwest has surged over the past decade, as the older white population has nearly stalled. Forty percent of the nation’s counties are experiencing such demographic transformations — a phenomenon fueling the Black Lives Matter protests that have swept the country and forced racial reckonings in communities, colleges and corporations nationwide.

The Washington Post

Post’s Craig and Williams write: “Counties with no more than 100,000 residents made up 90 percent of places in the United States where the young minority population grew faster than the older white population. Many of those counties are located in the upper Midwest, where local officials were especially surprised by the intensity of the protests in the weeks after Floyd died in the custody of Minneapolis police.”

“A Midwestern capital is marching for racial justice — and getting results” writes Tyler Kingkade for the Yahoo News.

This note post is part of learning race & inequality in US series inspired by recent protests in US and around the world.

Coronavirus Pandemic Watch

According to the MDH latest tally (as of July 12, 11 a.m.) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 42,281 (out of 755,052 tested) with 1,502 deaths. According to Johns Hopkins database (as of July 12, 5:30 a.m.) there are 3,247,782 confirmed covid19 infection with 134,815 deaths. Globally the covid19 virus has infected 12,739,269 with 565,704 deaths.