I had a trip planned to Minneapolis for a couple of weeks, way before the civil unrest started.

I was a little nervous visiting even before the riots due to the Pandemic, Minnesota, and Minneapolis still have stricter rules in place.

However, I decided to still go because the Friday before I left the officer involved in George Floyd's death was arrested and a curfew had been put in place. I figured those two things would help things calm down.

I stayed with a friend that lived just two miles from Lake Street. He had said the previous couple days were unreal, but he never felt in danger. They would hear sirens and smell smoke but didn't feel any threat in their neighborhood. He was nervous to drive me around, however, because he was afraid of what he would see. He even warned me he might cry. Totally understandable.

So, we ventured out. The areas hardest hit were full of traffic, both foot traffic, and cars. We never parked and walked into where most of the actual protesting was happening, but what we did see was very civil, peaceful, and positive. We saw people painting murals and positive messages over graffiti. We saw people handing out water and snacks to protesters and people helping clean up. Many people were carrying brooms and garbage bags. All the while, you could still smell smoke in the air.

And one thing that gave me some solace, it seemed to me, and this was just after a couple of hours of driving around and I don't live there, but for the most part, it seemed some local and community businesses were spared. We saw many areas that had a lot of devastation and then among the wreckage was a daycare that was left untouched or a community center. In a weird way, that made me feel better.

I stayed overnight on Saturday and only heard one siren and smelled no smoke. It seemed that maybe things were calming down. However, now a couple of days later, we know that isn't necessarily true. Things have escalated all over the country, even here in Sioux Falls.

It makes me sad that the protests that start so peaceful and positive in the daylight turn into something so negative after dark.

My friend that said he might cry said he actually felt a little better after seeing the scene for himself. He had the worst-case scenario in his head after seeing photos online and in the news. But in person, seeing all the helpers and the businesses that were spared gave us hope.

For more resources and ways to help Minneapolis, click here.

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