Seward Co-op community,
Yesterday afternoon, Daunte Wright, a 20-year old Black man and beloved son and father, was murdered by the Brooklyn Center police. Our community–including all of us at Seward Co-op–are feeling the impact of another police murder as we simultaneously watch the Chauvin trial unfold in our city. Rage, despair, numbness, heartbreak and many other emotions are surfacing in different ways right now at an individual and community level. Community members continue to show up in the streets to demand justice; and we know that protestors last night were met by tear gas and stun grenades.
There are also those who use crisis moments like these to sow additional chaos in our community. Last night at 2:36 a.m., two vehicles pulled up to the Friendship store on Clinton Avenue. A person stepped out of one of the vehicles and threw a large paver stone, breaking the outer pane of the window. We are also hearing accounts from many businesses along the Lake Street and Franklin Avenue corridors who were robbed or looted last night. We know that these attacks have been widespread and somewhat random.
The police violence and attack on co-op property happened after a distressing series of threatening phone calls and interactions that occurred at both the Franklin and Friendship stores. Seward Co-op management seeks to do everything we can possibly do to support our staff, customers and community. We want to be transparent with you that there are not a lot of great options for what that can look like, and we have struggled greatly with what to do next. We want our staff to feel safe at work. We want community members to feel safe in our stores. We want to continue to be a much-needed resource for food and community connection. We don’t want our actions to be motivated by fear; and at the same time we have a responsibility to respond to credible threats and to protect our staff and co-op.
In light of tonight’s curfew, we will close both our stores at 7 p.m. Based on the recent threats made to both people and property at the co-op, we have also implemented two additional security measures: secured our buildings’ windows once again with plywood and we hired a third-party security firm to provide additional support.
These experiences at Seward Co-op and in our wider community are not necessarily connected. At this time, we don’t have reason to believe that the person who broke the window at the Friendship store is the same individual who made harassing phone calls. We also don’t know whether or how the damage to our property fits in with attacks that other locations in our community have experienced. What we do know is that this is a challenging time for all of us– full of so much pain and despair as more and more trauma is layered into our community here in Minneapolis.
We know that community members and Seward Co-op staff are understandably sad, angry and afraid. We know that these feelings aren’t necessarily in response to just one thing that is happening right now, but rather the many layers of painful situations that we are experiencing right now as individuals, as a co-op and as a community.
Please stay safe and be well,
Sean Doyle, General Manager
Seward Community Co-op