“What do we have in here today?” A content smile begins to show as a man pushes his hand through the ice and pulls out a cold bottle of sweet tea. The cooler with its beverage assortment has become a comforting staple in this South Minneapolis community where hope feels almost tangible, yet there is still enough trauma to go around.
The soothing sounds of a trumpet are often not far from the energy drinks and iced coffee. This active community member speaks humbly and plays soulfully as he releases his sounds into the space of George Floyd Square. People say it calms their spirit and speaks to their soul. “I’m just trying to spread a little bit of joy with hydration and caffeination. I’m out here doing what I know to do.”
He has been faithfully pulling the cooler since May 26, 2020, when many marched and began saying George Floyd’s name for the first time. “I’m doing what I believe Jesus would be doing. God has taken care of me and so I want to take care of y’all.”
This South Minneapolis resident grew up on the same street he lives on today. As a kid, he spent his summer days at the park and making trips to the corner store to buy snacks. He recalls his dad frequently telling him and his siblings, “Don’t be afraid of your own neighborhood.” He holds the same value of getting to know your neighbors and building community.
As a grown man, he expresses gratitude for the people he has met by simply offering them a cold drink. “It opens doors for conversations and helps build relationships with the youth in the community.”
He has been known to fulfill requests for Rice Krispie Treats, chocolate milk, and Sunny D.
“They’re just kids. I know society loves to talk about protecting our kids, but the teens in this community don’t get the same benefit of the doubt. It’s up to us as community members to protect our youth and show them unconditional love. This is what community looks like.”