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Former politician and social activist speaks on unrest in Minnesota amid George Floyd's death

"Martin Luther King said rioting is the voice of the unheard. Somebody's not listening," Bruce Franks said

ST. LOUIS — The unrest in Minnesota sparked by the death of George Floyd has brought back memories for many in St. Louis. 

Bruce Franks, a social activist, said he can relate to protesters in Minnesota after his experiences with the unrest in Ferguson.

"Again?" Franks said. "To think that we have another case where a black man is dead at the hands of police. whether its gun, illegal choke hold, knee to the neck. it's constant. I see people that are hurt, people that are tired, people that felt like a lot of us felt after the murder of Michael Brown. all the other folks that we lost."

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Franks said for too long the issues African Americans face in this country have not been heard.

"Martin Luther King said rioting is the voice of the unheard. Somebody is not listening," Franks said.

Franks said people riot and destroy things because they are frustrated and this is how they express that pain and anger. 

"I don't think about what the news is saying or the media is saying," Franks said. "I think about the people who we lost along the way. I'm not thinking about a burning building, a burning trash can or a hole in the window. No I don't condone it but i don't condemn it either. You can't tell people where to place their anger. You want people to be peaceful but we aren't being treated peacefully. You want us to act non-violent but people keep treating us violently."

Franks said he's considering heading to Minnesota to help organizers on the ground. He said he knows how heavy that responsibility is and urges Minnesota social leaders to take care of their mental and physical health during this time. 

He said that one way the African American community can move forward is to continue to organize on a grassroots level to make the change they want to see.


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