Earlier this year, I got to work on this story about Rotary clubs in the Twin Cities helping immigrant-owned businesses recover from the destruction that followed the death of George Floyd in 2020:
For as long as most people in Minneapolis can remember, Lake Street has been a kind of melting pot in an otherwise Scandinavian-hued city. The 6-mile stretch is full of Mexican markets, African goods stores, halal butchers, South American restaurants, theaters, libraries, pawn shops, boutiques, and fine dining establishments. Driving down the street, to a motorist with the windows open it usually smelled like the world had come to Minnesota.
But in late May 2020, it smelled like smoke, as the rage over the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police boiled over into a full-scale riot.
The day the video went public of George Floyd pleading for his life as officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck and the life ebbed out of him, peaceful protests against police brutality and racial inequality occurred across Minneapolis. That night, public outrage quickly boiled over into violence as thousands of people marched from the site of Floyd’s death to the police station on Lake Street where all four police officers involved were based.
Amina Osman watched the crowd build all day from the windows of her family’s business near Lake Street, a small retail shipping store called Post Plus. By late afternoon, when more people began to congregrate in front of the police station, she had a feeling they should close early. So she locked the doors at 5 p.m.