Mural by Andres Guzman. Photo by William Dunder.

We continue to be heartbroken over the senseless, tragic killing of George Floyd while in police custody just blocks from our doorstep. We have seen anger, grief, fear, and violence unfold before our eyes in our neighborhood and across the country.

We have been reeling from this week’s events and, frankly, at a loss for what GPI can possibly say at a time when our colleagues, friends, neighbors, and people across the country are experiencing such profound pain.

These tragedies, seen and unseen, have taken place for far too long.

We know the issues that led to these days of unrest are not new and that George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and many others have been victims of an unjust, racist, and silent society. We have too often shied away from using the word “racist” because it feels like it’s been weaponized, but there’s nothing else to call it when the institutions of society treat you differently based on your race. These issues are deeply ingrained in American life and institutions and must be urgently addressed.

None of us can remain silent anymore.

GPI supports justice and equity for all and condemns any form of racism or violence. We stand with our neighbors, partners, local businesses and people across the country who demand change.

GPI has proudly called the Phillips neighborhood of south Minneapolis our home for nearly 25 years. Indeed, many GPI colleagues live in this community and in surrounding neighborhoods. It’s hard to capture in words the grief and empathy we feel for all the neighborhood has lost, including livelihoods and shops that most of us take for granted (grocery, pharmacy, restaurants). Many of those businesses are minority-owned and are reduced to rubble and ashes. Some may never return.

Rebuilding the Phillips neighborhood and others that have been damaged in the wake of this tragedy is obviously urgent. But it is no less urgent that we once and for all address the inequality and injustice that plagues our society or it will be our undoing.

We know it’s possible because we have also witnessed firsthand acts of strength, resilience, and glimmers of the best of humanity amid the chaos of the last week.  We’ve seen the stunning generosity of thousands of volunteers coming into our community to help rebuild.

So while our mission continues to be transforming the energy system for both economic and environmental benefit, we have been reminded in the starkest of terms that without a more equitable society we won’t achieve either.

We all have our part to play. GPI is committed to helping our community rebuild in the ways we’re able, and redoubling our efforts to better incorporate equity into our work to create a better world, for everyone.

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