NEWS: Two Recent Minneapolis Events Showcase New Imagination Around Public Safety

Juanada Petrus

At a book launch party at Public Functionary, a large group gathered to celebrate Juanada Petrus’ new book “Can We Please Give the Police Department to the Grandmothers?” Dancers, singers, and elder storytellers were part of the entertainment.

Petrus read her story. Listen to a short clip of it below.

"The grandmothers see the pain in our bravado. 
The confusion in our anger. 
The depth behind our coldness. 
Grandma knows what oppression has done to our souls 
and is going to change it, 
one love temple at a time."

Petrus’s illustrated storybook is partly designed to offer recognition of how society requires grandmothers do heavy lifting and caregiving, “to show up with love to fill gaps that disenfranchisement and oppression leave.”

She suggested an acronym for the future:








Two days earlier, a fundraiser for Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice (SLRJ) was held at Hook & Ladder, featuring the music of Rep. María Isa.

SLRJ director Michele Braley noted — as she did at length during a Minnesota Women’s Press event — that restorative justice is a pathway “to truly transform and create a community of care for each other. Restorative justice has its roots in indigenous and ancestral traditions. Ideas such as: mistakes are learning opportunities, and seeing individual actions as connected to a family and community system. I’ve heard from many Somali people in the neighborhood that a restorative justice process resonates with their traditions. Some have told me of their experiences bringing people together under a tree to grapple with harm that has been caused.

SLRJ board member Juan Sosa, a student support assistant for Saint Paul public schools,
said, “There’s been an uptick of behavioral issues at schools, including violence. How do we create those spaces for students to interact and really heal the harm. We can guide them, but ultimately they lead these conversations, and then they bring it back home to help solve other issues they might have.

“The power is huge. I hope it’s something everyone can implement in our lives. It starts with the kids.”