Boru: Cries for help are falling on deaf ears

Our city is bleeding from homicide and violence, and those in power are not preventing these tragedies.


by Luul Boru

After the murder of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, our communities went out into the streets day and night calling for justice for Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many others. It gave me hope that people are finally realizing that if there is no justice, there is no peace. People going out to the streets to demand change in our criminal justice system was a seed of hope planted to ensure a better future.

But unfortunately, since then, the crime rate has surged. Just this year alone, there is an 89% increase in homicides from this time last year in Minneapolis. Violent crimes are up 14% and robberies are up 32%. These are staggering numbers. Gun violence has become a major part of this problem. There have been 187 shootings so far this year. Just thinking about the number of news headlines I have received on my phone regarding shootings creates a lump in my throat from shock and fear. We are killing our own people in our own backyards. North Minneapolis community leaders recently called for an end to gun violence, and I couldn’t agree more.

Reading news articles every day about shootings has got me feeling sick to my stomach, and all I can do is send my prayers and thoughts to the victims’ families. But when things escalated to shooting children, it became hard to bear this crisis, and I am left with no choice but to speak up. Just recently, between April 30 and May 17, we lost 6-year-old Aniya Allen and 9-year-old Trinity Ottoson-Smith to gun violence.

Ottoson-Smith was playing on a trampoline when she was shot by the suspect, who had been driving down the alley. She fought for her life for two weeks so that she could get up one day. She passed away on May 27. Aniya Allen was shot and killed by a stray bullet while eating a McDonald’s Happy Meal in her mom’s car. These are just a fraction of the fatal shootings this year.

Non-fatal shootings throughout the city, on the streets, at parties and even in our own neighborhoods have been the frightening norm for many of us, not knowing when someone we know is going to be hit by a stray bullet. Ladavionne Garrett Jr., a 10-year-old shot while in his parent’s car, is currently fighting for his life.Our city, nicknamed ‘Murderapolis’ at one point in 1995, leaves me questioning whether it is even safe to live here anymore.

If the pain from the loss of children who died from gun violence is not incentive enough to call on our leaders to stop scratching their heads and call for gun control, I don’t know what is. Evading questions about gun control by saying that it needs to be addressed and disagreeing on proposed plans will only delay the solution for this crisis. Meanwhile, people will keep dying, including our children.

I urge Mayor Frey, Gov. Walz and our elected officials at the state capitol to stop delaying solutions over disagreements and start devising plans to stop our city from bleeding; to save our children and our brothers and sisters from dying. It is your duty to ensure our safety from the moment you take office, and not stopping these crimes means that you have failed this city and its people. You have failed our children.