MINNEAPOLIS — It has been roughly 120 hours since George Floyd died at the corner of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue.
In those 120 hours, I've experienced a Dickensian range of emotion. When you turn on the cable news, the majority of the images are of burning buildings, flames set by cowards more bent on destroying dreams than finding justice.
As someone who lives in this community, let me tell you: It is clear as day that the people rioting and looting Minneapolis are not the same people mourning the death of their fallen brother while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.
By day, the community gathers outside of Cup Foods, by the mural of Floyd. They gather on Lake Street. They gather downtown. And they are admirable.
They are young and old, they are tired and invigorated. They are angry and devastated, they are filled with hope and contempt. And they are from every background and walk of life.
They gather in the streets in numbers with the hope that their sheer size will finally, finally get their message across to the world: that our community will no longer tolerate the brutal policing it has experienced for a very long time. They chant and sing with one voice. They build haunting memorials of people who have died for this cause.
And then night falls, and with it, every bit of virtue garnered by the peaceful yet insistent call for change.
The vindictive emerge from the shadows as night falls. I cannot say exactly why these people are hell-bent on fueling the divide that already wounds my community. Their message is not one of hope, or of building a better future, or even just avenging the killing of one of their own.
But when the sun rises, light embraces our streets. Those in mourning — and those who want no business with destruction and ruin — take to the same blocks that were on fire the night before. They're armed with brooms and dust pans and trash cans and hope. They sweep up the broken glass and broken dreams, and show each other that despite the rage, there is yet room left to love one another.
Please, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, as you watch from your homes, try to understand the outraged cries of the aggrieved are not one and the same as the violent outbursts of those who would do Minneapolis in under the cover of darkness.
It is truly a tale of two cities. In Minneapolis, we are seeing the best of times, and the very worst of times.
Jeffries, a Minneapolis native, is a Forum News Service editor based in Lyn-Lake, Minneapolis.