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Our response to the death
of George Floyd.

To the Business and Construction Industry:

Out of respect for Mr. Floyd and his family, I chose to withhold my comments on the issues surrounding his final breath until after his funeral. The following are my thoughts:

It has been said, and I agree, that the knee on the neck and back of Mr. Floyd is symbolic of the weight that has been placed on the minority business community here in Minnesota. We have lost businesses due to lack of overall support, issuance of contracts, and opportunity in a thriving economy. This is especially egregious when in the last five years we have seen non-minority businesses grow and thrive. What should be our collective response?

I certainly don’t condone the looting and burning of buildings as this activity is a distraction from the real issues; however, peaceful protests have galvanized communities across the nation to demand change. Eyes have been opened to the deep disparities that have existed for decades and many have expressed a desire to strengthen their resolve to turn the tide of inequality. I was moved by an email I recently received from a friend who works in inclusion in a major company:

“I am heartbroken and frankly sickened by the current events of late. You have been on my mind, in hopes that you are safe and well, but also that you experience a lifetime of injustices that I can’t even begin to understand. I am sorry that it has taken me so long to understand this, for me to address my own biases and that once again, people of color are deemed unworthy of the privileges that I have lived. I know that this may sound trite but please accept my deepest apologies that the system that I have benefited from is one that doesn’t allow your community to flourish.”

More eyes need to be opened and I believe we can work together to shine the light on the needed changes to make Minnesota a place where we can all breathe. We will follow this letter with actionable items and ideas for moving forward.

Rick Harris
President, representing the board of MMGSA

MMGSA | Mailing Address: PO Box 322641 Fridley, Minnesota 55432 | www.mmgsa.org