Justice for George Floyd

Milkweed Staff — 06/16/2020


Dear Readers,

George Floyd was laid to rest in Houston this week. Here in Minneapolis, where his life was taken by police in a brutal public execution, we grieve for his loss, and for his family. We are heartbroken. We are angry. We are reeling. And we stand with the protestors—here and around the world—demanding justice, an end to anti-Black violence, and a dismantling of deeply embedded structures of white supremacy.

Here at Milkweed Editions, we also know that allying ourselves with demands for change is not enough. How will we contribute to and embody this change? As a nonprofit organization animated by a mission to “publish transformative literature, and build an engaged community around it,” we renew our commitment to finding, nurturing, and publishing more authors who would not otherwise have a platform from which to speak. We also commit to opening more doors within our organization to the kinds of individuals who are still excluded from work in our field.

In her recently published “Letter from Minneapolis,” poet Su Hwang encourages us to think of this current moment not so much as an inflection, but rather as a “point of convergence,” which “implies multiplicity and cumulativeness—a cacophony of voices and perspectives.” We are commited to enriching this cacophony, and to the kind of listening that makes it more inclusive.

Another writer we publish, Robin Wall Kimmerer, recently described her work as aimed at a “revolution in consciousness.” This is, ultimately, the power of transformative literature—to enlighten, to foster empathy and understanding of difference, and to inspire action that transforms individuals, communities, and the world.

Publishing is ultimately about connecting such voices with those who will hear them. This is our task, and we embrace it today with renewed determination.

With love, hope, and resolve,

The Milkweed team


Milkweed staff members have been financially supporting these local organizations. Since sending out this newsletter, six Black-led organizations have come together to create a website——that curates the most up-to-date donation information. We invite you to learn more about these organizations, their work, and how you can show up:

  • Reclaim the Block: A Minneapolis-based organization that works with council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget, and organizes around policies that strengthen community-led safety initiatives. Donate here▸▸
  • Voices for Racial Justice: Focusing on healing, education, and leadership for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in Minnesota, this organization centers communities of color in policy proposals, state-wide census accuracy efforts, and criminal justice reform. Donate here▸▸
  • Black Visions Collective: Centering their work in healing and transformative justice principles, Black Visions Collective organizes to shape a political home for Black people across Minnesota. Donate here▸▸
  • Pimento Jamaican Kitchen Relief Services: This restaurant, located in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis, has been coordinating donation drop-off and delivery, and recently launched a community Summit on Police Homicide. Donate here▸▸ 
  • Juxtaposition Arts: Donations support emerging artists and designers and helps Juxtaposition Arts offer free, college-level arts programming for young people in North Minneapolis—the neighborhood where the largest population of Black residents live and own businesses. Donate here▸▸
  • Minnesota Healing Justice Network: A group of BIPOC health and wellness providers including doulas, bodyworkers, yoga instructors, herbalists, mental health practitioners, and physical therapists make up this organization. Funding helps members stay afloat so they can continue long-term, culturally congruent healthcare and advocacy for health equity. Donate here▸▸
  • Black Table Arts: Offering professional development for institutions centered in education and the arts, Black Table Arts works with artists all over the state of Minnesota to collaborate on speaking engagements, performances, and writing workshops. Their annual Because Black Life Conference hosts hundreds of Black folks for a day of conersation, healing, and joy. Donate here▸▸
  • Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop: Through high-quality creative writing classes for incarcerated men and women, a one-to-one mail mentor program, and related programming, this organization fosters literary community in Minnesota’s state prisons. Donate here▸▸
  • Migizi: Founded in 1977, Migizi is a multimedia training organization for Native youth aimed at providing professional storytelling skills, enhancing self-esteem, and improving academic performance. Their building was burned down, and all funds will support their rebuild. Donate here▸▸
  • Northside Businesses: West Broadway Business and Area Coalition is raising money with the Northside Funders Group to rebuild and support Northside businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 and the recent uprising. Donate here▸▸
  • Lake Street Council: One hundred percent of the funds will help rebuild Lake Street, starting with direct support to small businesses and nonprofits to help rebuild storefronts and reopen businesses. Donate here▸▸
  • Du Nord Riot Recovery Fund: Du Nord is a Black-owned distillery in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis that experienced property damage. They are raising money to not only support their rebuild, but to support the rebuilds of neighboring Black- and Brown-owned businesses. Donate here▸▸