Posts filed under ‘About the Midwest’

Minneapolis, City of Lakes…and Police Brutality

Minneapolis, Minnesota. My hometown.

I am from a city in Minnesota called Minneapolis.

It is a place that, until recently, was not very well known outside of the United States, and even, to some degree, within the United States.

Minneapolis is a beautiful city of lakes and parks. It is a city that is rich in cultural activities and the arts. It is very cold there in the winter, and the winter is long. And it is my beloved hometown. That is how I have always thought of it, until now.

But now everyone in the world knows that Minneapolis is also the place where last week a horrific act of murder was committed, by a police officer, as three other police officers stood by and did nothing, or actively aided and abetted the murderer.

And that the outrage over that murder–combined with the cumulative weight of so many many many terrible murders before it–has rocked our nation and spread a cry of fury, anguish, and vigorous protest around the world.

It’s about time.

I am filled with both grief and shame over the treatment of this man, George Floyd. I grieve for his family, and for the families of so many other African Americans, and others, who have suffered for not just decades but centuries from this horrific kind of hatred, this unspeakable, unfathomable, unforgivable violence.

I don’t, and can’t, understand it. It sickens me. And I don’t really know what to say about it except that this murder–captured on camera so that anyone who can bear to watch can see it–does seem to perhaps be the last straw.

I hope it is.

Yesterday I saw a news clip of George Floyd’s six-year-old daughter, whose mother has not yet told her exactly what happened to him. All she knows is that her father is gone, that he died “because he couldn’t breathe,” and that huge crowds of people are calling out his name. “My Daddy changed the world,” this innocent child has said. It is heartbreaking.

Will his unnecessary, terrible death change the world?

Right now, nothing is certain, and things are not good in the not-very-United States of America. In many cities, the police are acting out violently, out of control. The president is completely incompetent (to say the least). The Republican leadership (still, unbelievably) stands by and does nothing.

It’s hard not to despair.

But that is not a choice. It’s not a choice.

Americans tend to feel that “failure is not an option.” But when it comes to humane treatment of our black brothers and sisters, the truth is, we’ve been failing for far too long. Failing, and failing, and failing again.

Our president promised to bring “winning” back to our nation. Somehow I don’t think he defines winning in the same way I do.

But I trust–and fervently hope–that we can start winning the only game that counts.

That we can find a way to love, and support, and help each other through this terrible terrible mess we’re in.

Janet Hulstrand
 is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher of writing and of literature who divides her time between the U.S. and France. She is the author of Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You, and is currently working on her next book, a literary memoir entitled “
A Long Way from Iowa.”

June 4, 2020 at 5:52 pm Leave a comment

Wending My Way Through Wisconsin…

…before it fades from my memory I want to tell you about my road trip that began by crossing the St. Croix River into Wisconsin at Prescott, and heading to my cousin Brenda’s home near Ellsworth…

Continue Reading August 7, 2018 at 11:29 am 4 comments

A Peek into the Heartland (Kandiyohi County, Minnesota, 2018)

“Can you pick up some drums on your way out here?” my cousin emailed me. “I was planning to do a quick run in and out to get them, but since you’re coming this way anyway…”

Continue Reading July 11, 2018 at 12:55 pm Leave a comment

Riverdog: A Rural Retreat in Ohio

An interview with the artist/host-proprietors of Riverdog, a delightful rural retreat center in northern Ohio…

Continue Reading June 28, 2017 at 6:25 pm Leave a comment

A Little Town Called Bonair

Lectures, chalk-talks, box sociables and community theater offerings seemed to be the main social events in the small burgs around Howard County, plus, in the summer months, Chatauquas. There were also book clubs…

Continue Reading March 13, 2014 at 12:30 pm Leave a comment

Being Midwestern

When I was living in New York City in my mid-twenties (35 years ago), one of my best friends made me aware that being from the Midwest was neither a burden, nor a shame…

Continue Reading March 12, 2014 at 4:35 pm 1 comment


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