The evening of Memorial Day, May 25, was calm and warm in the Twin Cities, and along with many of our neighbors, we took advantage of the long spring evening. But while we were grilling, gardening, or otherwise commemorating loved ones on this holiday, police were killing George Floyd at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue.

38th Street cuts across South Minneapolis, east to west, and traveling the length of this street it is obvious how the racist beginnings of Minneapolis and of Minnesota still shape the experiences of Black and Indigenous people and people of color in this city, including the original murderous dispossession of Dakota people’s land, racist real estate practices in the twentieth century, and deep disparities in homeownership today.

Despite the liberal reputation of our city and state, these racisms continue to prevail. As a state, we rank near the top in many indexes of quality of life—if you are White. If you are not White, we rank near the bottom.

We have a lot to do beyond delivering justice for George Floyd and for the countless Black and Indigenous people and people of color who have lost their lives at the hands of police. Now is the time to fully dismantle the anti-Black culture and racist institutions that are foundations of American society. Our neighborhoods must be rebuilt with racial justice, food justice, and environmental justice inextricably linked. And Minnesota needs to address the gross inequalities that so unequally divide its citizens.

The University of Minnesota Press is sharing this collection of titles from the past twenty years that we believe can contribute to the necessary and long overdue conversations this city and our country must now undertake. In collaboration with authors, we are making these books available through open access, and they are free for all to read at this crucial moment.

Change can occur only through acknowledging and understanding the racist past and present of this state and its context within violent U.S. racial and imperial projects. Now is the time to imagine how we can rebuild our communities to be more racially just—and to actively engage in bringing about this change.

The University of Minnesota Press stands with protesters and with everyone calling for justice for George Floyd. We encourage you to contribute to networks of care and protester bail funds in your communities.

The University of Minnesota Press