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From Our Community

Hope and Humanity: Related Resources

The Minnesota Chorale and Twin Cities Choral Partners rehearse ahead of performances of Joel Thompson's Seven Last Words of the Unarmed

Music can powerfully reflect the times we live in, holding a mirror up to society and potentially serving as a catalyst for change. Such is the case with contemporary composer Joel Thompson’s Seven Last Words of the Unarmed, a seven-movement work for choir and orchestra that sets the final words of seven Black men who were killed by police or authority figures. The work—which is 15 minutes in duration—prompts a range of reactions and encourages conversations about racial and social injustice. Thompson calls on listeners to engage deeply with the humanity of these seven individuals, the many Black men and women they represent, and the systems of racial injustice in American society.

In conjunction with the May 19-21 Hope and Humanity concerts featuring Seven Last Words of the Unarmed, the Minnesota Orchestra has created the following list of resources to share with those who are interested in learning more or taking action to fight racial injustices. We’re sharing here some of the organizations and individuals recommended by a Community Advisory Team that helped the Orchestra to prepare for these concerts. Thanks to them for their suggestions.

Right before the May 20 performance of Seven Last Words of the Unarmed, Executive Director of the George Floyd Global Memorial Jeanelle Austin led Hope and Humanity: A Pre-Concert Panel. She was joined by composer Joel Thompson, Co-Chair of the George Floyd Global Memorial  Angela Harrelson and Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Greater Twin Cities United Way Scottie Carter for a conversation about police violence, safety, community and creating better futures for all.

The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed website was created by the University of Michigan after its Men’s Glee Club’s premiere performance of Joel Thompson’s powerful work. On the site, you can learn more about the music, the lives of the seven men whose words are shared in the piece, and U.S. police violence and reform efforts. There are also guides for discussing the piece in school, university and community settings.

The George Floyd Global Memorial exists to conserve stories of resistance to racial injustice and to curate spaces for all people to grieve, pay respect, and be a voice for justice. Its vision is to bring community development in Minneapolis and inspire people to pursue racial justice around the world. Visit their website to learn more about their work, including the second annual Rise & Remember event at George Floyd Square on May 25-28, 2022.

Every police-involved death in Minnesota since 2000 is part of a Star Tribune-compiled database which contains the names and stories of everyone who died after a physical confrontation with law enforcement in Minnesota since January 2000. The Star Tribune continues to update this database as new incidents occur.

Communities United Against Police Brutality is an all-volunteer organization which works to combat police brutality from many angles, including political and legislative action, education, research, and providing services and support for victims and their families. Its overriding goal is to create a climate of resistance to abuse of authority by police organizations and to empower local people with a structure that can take on police brutality and bring it to an end.

Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence supports the numerous families locally, as well as some nationally, that have been impacted by police violence. It was founded by Toshira Garraway, whose fiancée, Justin Teigen, was killed by the Saint Paul Police Department in 2009.

Resmaa Menakem is a healer, author, master coach and trauma specialist. His website provides resources from his own work on how he approaches healing racism—including books, online trainings, and a podcast.

Georgia Fort is a two-time Emmy-nominated local journalist who was one of two journalists in the courtroom for the sentencing of Derek Chauvin. Her mission as a storyteller is to change the narrative by amplifying truth, citing diverse sources, and contextualizing social justice issues. She is the Founder of BLCK Press, a newsroom dedicated to creating opportunities for early career journalists of color, empowering them to tell authentic stories that transform the racial narrative.

Bearing Witness is a podcast series exploring the events unfolding in this season of racial upheaval of change. Hosted by Georgia Fort and Anthony Galloway, it is a production of Racial Reckoning: The Arc of Justice, a journalism initiative created by AmpersKMOJ and the Minnesota Humanities Center to cover the trials of the former Minneapolis police officers charged with the murder of George Floyd, the community’s response and the changes needed to create a more just society.

The Minneapolis NAACP’s mission is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. Its website includes information about events and opportunities for engagement, as well as resources for individuals facing discrimination at work.

Learn About Institutional Racism with the book, podcast and film recommendations in PBS NewsHour’s list of what to read, listen to and watch to learn about institutional racism