This time was different

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By: Marjaan Sirdar, Freelance Writer

On the evening of Memorial Day around 10 pm, I read a post on social media that said the MPD murdered an unarmed Black man four blocks from my home. I immediately hopped in my car and drove to the corner where I typically buy my gyro and fries, thinking I’d be safer in my car than on foot, parked halfway down the 3800 block on the east side of Chicago Avenue. I turned on Facebook live for six and a half minutes. The intersection was blocked off with police tape. It was completely quiet. I saw a single police officer going door to door talking to neighbors. I captured this eerie night on film.

Screenshot by Marjaan Sirdar

No one was walking around the block except me and the officer. Four cops were standing at the intersection having a good chat amongst themselves, laughing. The police tape stretched a block down to Park ave. I spoke with two elderly neighbors: a Black woman and a white woman who lived next door to each other, in a side-by-side. I told them what I had read on social media and they were in disbelief. I was in disbelief. It was only a rumor. 

The hood was silent. To imagine George Floyd laid there on that pavement hours prior, begging for his momma, while Dereck Chauvin choked the life out of him in front of dozens of witnesses, was unimaginable. The police tape gave me pause… To think our community, city and world would permanently change because of this injustice would have been fiction, depending on who you asked. The video surfaced before I went to bed. It confirmed what I read earlier. I shared it with dozens of online friends. I could barely sleep that night. It was the worst thing I ever saw.

When I got up in the morning things seemed different. Good thing we were doing the work in this community to prevent this very type of incident from happening sooner. We were sharp enough to leave receipts. They were dumb enough to ignore us. They will never ignore us again. 

I haven’t grieved or processed what I saw or everything that has happened to my community since Memorial Day. Things are slowing down now. I am mourning the uprising. Is it over? Are we right back to neoliberalism? Will I wake up tomorrow to yesterday?

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