A Minneapolis Neighborhood Vowed to Check Its Privilege. It’s Already Being Tested.

A Minneapolis Neighborhood Vowed to Check Its Privilege. It’s Already Being Tested. By Calitan Dickerson.

After the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police, Ms. Albers, who is white, and many of her progressive neighbors have vowed to avoid calling law enforcement into their community. Doing so, they believed, would add to the pain that black residents of Minneapolis were feeling and could put them in danger.

Already, that commitment is being challenged. Two weeks ago, dozens of multicolored tents appeared in the neighborhood park. They were brought by homeless people who were displaced during the unrest that gripped the city. The multiracial group of roughly 300 new residents seems to grow larger and more entrenched every day. They do laundry, listen to music and strategize about how to find permanent housing. Some are hampered by mental illness, addiction or both.

Their presence has drawn heavy car traffic into the neighborhood, some from drug dealers. At least two residents have overdosed in the encampment and had to be taken away in ambulances.

The influx of outsiders has kept Ms. Albers awake at night. Though it is unlikely to happen, she has had visions of people from the tent camp forcing their way into her home. She imagines using a baseball bat to defend herself.

Not being able to call the police, as she has done for decades, has shaken her.

“I am afraid,” she said. “I know my neighbors are around, but I’m not feeling grounded in my city at all. Anything could happen.” …

Angelina Roslik burst into tears, explaining that she had spent the past four years fleeing unstable housing conditions and was struggling more than she cared to admit with the chaos the camp had brought into the neighborhood. Linnea Borden said she had stopped walking her dog through the park because she was tired of being catcalled. “My emotions change every 30 seconds,” said Tria Houser, who is part Native American.

I’m wearing my shocked face. How could this happen?