I’m one of the knitters. I joined the “Knitting for Justice” movement in downtown Bemidji a couple of weeks ago. The other day a passerby stopped to talk. She asked me what had brought me to this point. I answered that my parents are social justice advocates, which is the environment in which I was raised.

But that was not the right answer. After the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 in Minneapolis, I wanted to become a better ally for social justice. When I became aware of the sustained peaceful presence of the “Knitting for Justice” folks I couldn’t join fast enough. What brought me here are the following:

  • Richard Brooks, 27, died June 2020, Atlanta.

  • George Floyd, 46, died May 2020, Minneapolis.

  • Breonna Taylor, 26, died March 2020, Louisville, Ky.

  • Ahmaud Arbery, 25, died February 2020, Brunswick, Ga.

  • Elijah McClain, 23, died August 2019, Aurora, Colo.

  • Botham Jean, 26, died September 2018, Dallas.

  • Philando Castile, 32, died July 2016, St. Anthony, Minn.

  • Tamir Rice 12, died November 2014, Cleveland.

  • Michael Brown, 18, died August 2014, Ferguson, Mo.

  • Eric Garner, 43, died July 2014, Staten Island N.Y.

  • Trayvon Martin, 17, died February 2012, Sanford, Fla.

And the list goes on and on. The sad truth is that systemic violence of this kind has been going on against people of color for hundreds of years. I believe that to sit by silently would make me complicit. That is why I’m here.