The urge to express solidarity with protests against police brutality in Minneapolis and across the country has inspired a spirit of giving in the small-business community of Santa Cruz County.
Protests are taking place nationwide in response to the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a Black man, after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.
In response, several small Santa Cruz businesses joined the call to support the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a nonprofit that posts bail for protesters who cannot afford it. Among the businesses that pledged matching donations to the Minnesota Freedom Fund are Capitola’s Lumen Gallery, the Home/Work gift shop in Santa Cruz, and Childish Toy Store in Santa Cruz. In their Instagram announcements, local businesses credited San Francisco-based editor Erin Feher Montoya with starting the idea.
The businesses matched donations from their customers on May 30. The Instagram posts attracted several hundred likes and many pledges of monetary support from customers. The businesses and their customers raised about $1,300 for the Minnesota Freedom Fund, according to Arin Spanner, the operating officer for GetVirtual, a nonprofit helping local businesses work online during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We were seeing that a lot of our clients were wanting to do something and want to support the fight against all these terrible things happening to racial minorities,” Spanner says.
Santa Cruz Mayor Justin Cummings and Police Chief Andy Mills are hosting a community forum on Wednesday, June 3 about policing, and inviting public comment. The presentation will cover how the Santa Cruz Police Department has been working to “reduce bias” and “increase diversity in the department,” as well as implementing de-escalation tactics, according to a city press release.
Cummings will also discuss a proposed policy that would “limit the use of certain technologies in law enforcement that have proven to be biased against people of color.”
The forum is scheduled for 6-8pm on Wednesday, June 3. It can be accessed by visiting zoom.us or by calling 669-900-9128, 346-248-7799, or 312-626-6799. The Webinar ID is 964 6211 9560. Questions or comments can be submitted ahead of time to [email protected].
For more information on the Minnesota Freedom Fund, go to minnesotafreedomfund.org.