What You Should Know About St. Paul Right Now - Skillful Cook
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What You Should Know About St. Paul Right Now

Black sign with white writing.

It's so close to our house that I've driven by it every day on my way to the studio without even trying. But yesterday Bjork and I actually got out and watched and listened and learned and wrestled with some hard feelings at the intersection where Philando Castile was shot.

The news / online narrative about all that's going on right now seems to be: hate. tension. fear. protests that have become violent. It's overwhelming and heavy and desperate.

But here's what I want people to know, since not everyone lives within walking distance of this and not everyone will have the chance to see this firsthand. I want you to know that yesterday I was there and I saw a different story.

There were flowers and candles everywhere on both sides of the busy road. Strangers of all races and all ideologies talking respectfully with each other, even disagreeing with each other but taking pictures together and exchanging “free hugs.” One person playing guitar and a small group of people singing along.

Quotes, poems, Bible verses, and messages about LOVE and PEACE written in chalk all over the sidewalk. Posters and signs and cards with written memorials, stories, and love for Philando. It was a beautiful tribute to Philando. But there were also several notes in honor of Alton Sterling. And I saw a handful of written memorials for the police officers killed in Dallas written by the same people who wrote memorials for Philando. Even one thank you written specifically to the officers who are keeping the protests in St. Paul safe.

In addition to all the love and outpouring for Philando, there were clarifying messages written for white people - “Yes, Black Lives Matter, and please know that our movement is not anti-white.” And thoughtful messages acknowledging white privilege - “White Privilege is: never being stopped on Larpentuer once in 40 years of living here.”

Cars honked in solidarity as they drove by, and as we were getting ready to leave, three little preschool-age kiddos came up to us to pet Sage - one White, one Biracial, and one Black who was proudly sporting a police badge sticker on his shirt. His dad stayed close behind him, reminding him to pet the doggie gently and not pull her tail, and Sage dog-smiled and wagged her tail (well, let's be honest, she was a little nervous) and let the kids rub her belly. It felt altogether so regular and so sacred and so hopeful.

The hard work is not done, not at all. It's only just beginning. We see, name, and condemn racism. The hurt is real and raw. But to anyone who, like me, feels hopeless in all this, you can know that yesterday in St. Paul there were small steps of healing taking place. Even amongst the anger and hurt and deep sorrow for a loved one lost too soon yet again, the overwhelming sense I got from everyone there was one of love and unity.

The thing about living in this time is that we have an opportunity right now to pick up our communities and move towards justice and healing. We have an opportunity.

Chalk Art for Philando Castile.

Being a part of this was all such a moving experience that I forgot to take pictures, so I grabbed these ones from Snapchat - you can see a few more pictures and videos from the protest at the Governor's mansion and the intersection where Philando was shot on my story for the next few hours. Username skillfulcook.

Filed Under: Life

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for posting this, and I thoroughly agree that not everyone is hateful and it’s beyond time to come together. That being said, I think Philando – as many other ‘people of color’, let’s say, lose their lives needlessly during routine police interactions, and I do feel that there is a disparity in the number of deaths when it comes to people of color and whites, and it makes many of us terribly upset. I’m still completely unclear as to why he died that day; from what I’ve seen he didn’t deserve that. I figure the four year old child that sat in the back seat will be traumatized for many years to come. With that also being said now, I also thoroughly believe that we need solidarity among this human race that we are, no matter the pigment. #stopthehate

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I am so sorry for the loss of your son.I could not stop crying my prayers will be with you,he is now in heaven with his creator and is watching over you and your family. God bless. You have a beautiful dog

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for this post. Your thoughtful words, and your recognition to talk about a situation instead of ignore it.. Do not go unappreciated.

    Thank you Lindsay.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    This post means a lot. As I sit here so far away from St. Paul, I have been terrified at where our country is going and last week left me with a heavier heart than usual. It’s good to hear that healing has begun there because we need to hear these things! I hope this healing continues for all of us, but we have a long way to go.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hello, thank you for this. Thank you for using your space to talk about such an important issue. I believe silence gives way to hate so your speaking out for peace and common ground is vital. I am praying for you and your community. Love from Detroit.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Our thoughts here in Australia as we watch these terribly sad events unfold, are with you. I did think of you there in St Paul when listening to the news of Philando’s death and hoped you and Bjork were safe.
    This is an extremely difficult time for you all in the States, so thank you Lindsay for sharing your heartfelt thoughts and feelings with us all.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thank you Kath. I appreciate that. We could use all your positive thoughts, vibes, prayers, energy… it’s a long road ahead.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks Lise. I didn’t have to look hard to find it. It was an honor to be able to see this community coming together firsthand.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for posting this. We’re not close to St. Paul at all, but so many of us feel the loss deeply, worry about our friends and families when they leave home and are genuinely emotionally exhausted.

    It’s nice to see people of all races trying to help and heal each other rather than incite more negative feelings. I truly believe the hopelessness we all sometimes feel in the face of our nation’s racial issues will transform to small-scale action that reaps large-scale results.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thank you for the comment Deauna. This is an amazing perspective – “I truly believe the hopelessness we all sometimes feel in the face of our nation’s racial issues will transform to small-scale action that reaps large-scale results.” I find that so inspiring.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for your post. I appreciated your “boots on the ground” view and not the media blitz that everyone gets when they open up their web browser.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yes, Black Lives Matter, and please know that our movement is not anti-white. Oh, my goodness. That is the first time I have seen it presented that way. I wasn’t thinking it was anti-white before, but everywhere you look there are people shouting that white lives and/or all lives matter, too. Of course they do. But why does it have to be a contest? Can’t we just let Black Lives Matter? Let the focus be there for a minute? Thank you so much for your post. It gave me a whole knew way of thinking about things.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing this. The media only accentuates hate, leaving Us feeling overwhelmed and fearful. I wish your message could be broadcast worldwide- stories of love, peace, human connection & togetherness during such a difficult time.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I agree Becky – the media sensationalizes it and often contributes to polarizing viewpoints. Thanks for your comment.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Sharing your thoughts and actually being there to testify to another way of looking at this is so important. This is an opportunity for everyone to take a fresh look at what is possible in our country. This is phase 2 of the civil rights movement and when we get to the other side, both police and civilians will see that we are all better off for the changes we make. Love and gratitude for your truth.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      It really does feel like a new phase of the civil rights movement. We need new eyes to see how to move forward. Thanks for your comment Kathy.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for posting this! Most of what I see in the media is so divided, one or the other… It’s nice to be reminded that most people are reasonable, good hearted and wanting to unite together.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Gosh, just as I posted this comment I thought, wait, this isn’t about how I’m feeling with all that’s happened. How is this man’s family? Are they seeing and experiencing the same comfort? I hope so. I also hope the Dallas families will receive and experience the same…

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you. This meant a lot for you to post about what is going on in St. Paul. It also means a lot that you took the time to engage with what was going on. You’re one of my favorite food bloggers and this just made me heart you that much more.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thank you Christyna, that’s so kind. I heard something on the radio that really resonated with me: a woman called in and said that what the protestors are trying to do by stopping traffic on a major interstate is to put a hold on business as usual. To really ask people to stop and think about what’s happening and not to just carry on as if nothing had happened. That really impacted me as I made the decision to share this post.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you so much for posting this. Being from Canada, it’s hard to know if what we see on the web is real, or not. I know many people who are boycotting travel to America because all we hear about is hate. It’s heartbreaking. To learn that people are coming together to fight hate with love is inspiring. #lovewins

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Lindsay, thank you for not worrying about being politically correct and just sharing you saw with honestly and feeling. I live in Dallas and this has been a very hard time for us. We lost 5 pubic servants who tried to protect the citizens of a peaceful demonstration when the shots from a deranged person rang out. Once again my home has been thrown into the public by one crazy, hateful person. I was a little girl when Kennedy was shot and I didn’t understand why people called Dallas a city of hate. I want everyone to know that Dallas is a city of love and respect for all people. Our police officers are some of the best and our citizens go about their lives peacefully and productively. My first year of culinary school I attended El Centro where the shootings took place and although I don’t go downtown very often, I’ve driven by there enough to know exactly where this horrific thing took place. We are all in this together and everyone matters. Hugs to all.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      “I want everyone to know that Dallas is a city of love and respect for all people.” It is always so hard when the actions of a few (or even just one) seem to speak louder than the love that is present every day. Thank you Carol. ❤️

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you so much for sharing this. There have been so many terrible things happening in the world recently, that it really brought some comfort to hear about the hopefulness that you witnessed. It brought a small smile to my face reading about how kind the kids were with Sage in such an emotional circumstance. I wanted to let you know that I’ve included you in my list of 9 Inspirational Blogs to Bookmark on my site today. I’ve been a long time reader of yours, and really look up to your incredible food photography and your authentic voice that comes through in your posts. I also love that you share my passion for plant-based cooking. In fact, you were huge influence in inspiring me to start my own plant-based food blog. I’m also a huge fan of Bjork and the incredible work he does for the food blogger community. Listening to his podcast is often a highlight of my week. I’m so excited to get your site in front of my readers, who I know will love it as much as I do! Thanks so much for giving me something to look forward to reading three times a week!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Such a great piece! It’s good to know that some people are coming together rather than rising up against each other. Violence is never the answer. I haven’t tried to research any of the recent events. Not because I don’t care but because I know it will make me want to protect my family even more and I don’t think anyone should live in anxiety or fear.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hey Lindsay and Bjork! Thank you for this share. It is a bright light in this dark web of events and a perfect reminder that a cultural identity, whether it is race, job, or other, is not defined by the actions of a few. But by what we do in response. There is a very real and tangible human element with loss on both sides that must not be lost in the nature of the message as this social change evolves. I hope we will continue to hear stories like yours more often across the country as we strive to be better human beings.

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for posting this – I really appreciate it. As a food blogger you could have ignored it or deemed it outside of your blog’s focus. Thank you.

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am JUST reading this post today, two days after I’ve had to watch another brother gunned down by the people sworn to protect us. This time in Oklahoma…sigh #TerenceCrutcher. As you can imagine my emotions are high now as I am reminded that this could have easily been any black man in my life the I love (son, father, brother,cousin,etc.)
    Your post is a welcome reminder for me that love heals. I needed to see and read this post today, to help redirect my energy and lift my spirits. I just sat and read all 40 comments and really absorbed the sentiment of the commenters.Thank you offering a platform of expression like this one.

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    Ummmm, I’m white, but used to be very, very broke. I looked broke too via my crappy older rust-bucket car…I’d been pulled over suspiciously by cops on Larpenter Ave, and other places in TwinCities and lots of times before I got a nice, new car . Clearly due to driving a poverty-mobile w/ rusty paint job, I had been singled out plenty-o-times by cops as a potential trouble-maker.

    That ALL CHANGED for me greatly –when I got a brand new automobile–(a kinda upscale one). So far, I have not any bad cop-type encounters while driving since then…
    Now I can easily drive around ALL areas at ANY TIME of day or night with no police looking at me suspiciously.

    Not “White Privilege” but simple money equation here…”upper-class” privilege. -True dat!

  21. Skillful Cook Logo

    I grew up in a mix of northern MN, the Iron Range, and deep South. So MN winters are ideal for cooking and eating, but your blog is far beyond average. Kudos and thanks, lots of help making real meals as a family, something I wanted with my daughter who is 8.

    St. Paul is great I’m third gen Irish, even did my time as a blarney brother and was in the St. Patrick’s day parade. And Heaven has the Excel Center with the Wild and MN Swarm.

    I had a very different life than whatever white Privilage is… I was a poor kid in the South, and poor in MN. For Most of my life I Lived in Neighborhoods where My Casper colored Irish Skin was riding Solo. I lived a big chunk of my life w/ my best friends family and he was Akon tone. We Lived a life where family Surpassed blood, and Race wasn’t something we even thought about until we where older. From Atlanta Region to North Minneapolis Everything in life was family in our eyes. Feb 2010 N. MPLS My brother was shot 5 times right next to me. I had a round Hit my knee. I Sat there and even with EMS training I couldn’t do a thing. You know that your family when after you call his mom, and being upset try to tell her what happened, but Before you can get the first few words out She’s saying, ” Calm down baby, whats wrong? Your never this upset, but you gotta be calm for me to understand you.” – I was able to finally get it out, “ma we walking home and mo’s dead, someone let loose a few rounds and he got hit!” She was impacted, but the first thing she said after was, “o K baby boy, are you ok, are you hurt?” I realized at that moment my knee, but I hadn’t realized before that.

    The rest played out, in a blur. My Great Dane that was6′ 3″ when he would stand with his Paws on my shoulder, pure black and 220 lbs was with me in the hospital and everything. Normal Funeral stuff after, had to learn how to live without my brother, but my faith in the eternal Paradise, and the Song ” Thugz Mansion” by 2Pac was slow but we adapt. The incident didn’t really get anything more than a 4 Min quick overview on KARE 11.

    Now I have meet Law Enforcement who use their badge improperly, and are dirty in every way. But thats not a cop only trait, or Racial, it’s an unfortunate Flaw in the human Species. The reason there are more prisoners with African Heritage is because of Socio-economics. When your poor and are trying to feed your family, things aren’t as cut and dry, you start looking at your morals in a more flexable way. It’s unfortunate that my socio-economic standing was abnormal for My irish tail. In Minneapolis on Lake street the Native projects, is next to the Somali projects, which is next to the Latino Neighborhood, which is next to Lake Calhoons artesian/ Hipster neighborhood. Poverty sucks No matter What color you are, but I recognize the fact that minorities have to suffer that burden in statistically higher numbers.

    When your adopted brother who is black gets 4min of coverage, but 5 or 6 yrs later The mall of America is full floor to Ceiling sounding the battle cry “Black Lives Matter! Less than 10 miles from a black life that mattered, but wasn’t a result of a cop so only mattered a little bit, we are Not looking at this right. Lives matter, as the most intelligent or at least the most dominant Species on this planet, we Need to acknowledge all Lives matter, our intellect can get us to the Moon, but can’t provide a way to co-exist then we are wasting the life God gave us. “It’s time to Change the way we eat, change the way we act, and Change the way we treat eachother!” sorry 2PAC again.
    The reason for the recent Coverage is because its fueled by people on both sides who use the coverage to point Fingers. I don’t care Why, I don’t care who, I care about someone who is coming close to 8yrs gone. While all the Finger Pointing goes on, the general public is missing occurrences in our Government. Control through distraction, the media and Figureheads use these Tactics to distract, in the same way the Romans did with the Gladiators.

    I wish the best for everyone, regardless of race, age, gender, religion, even Vegans (I couldn’t do it.)
    Thanks for letting me vent, upon my high horse I guess. Your site is grate though. I’m working on Starting a Music & Tech blog, and the story of your Journeys helped put me in a good frame of mind.