With Thanksgiving upon us, I’ve been taking time to reflect upon this past year. As many of you know, I spent the summer living in the Catskills –visiting family and friends Jen or I have known for more than 50 years. We celebrated my uncle’s 100th birthday, along with his younger brother (a mere 97), my cousins, brother and sister-in-law, and nephews. We saw more cousins on both sides of our family than I can count. True fact: Jen and I each have a cousin named Linda Oppenheimer. No relation.
We experienced rain. Lots of rain. And autumn. We celebrated the Jewish new year in Woodstock. We drove to New York – visiting our children, friends, and family as we made our way from coast to coast and back again. After so many months of Zoom visits, the difference was palpable, meaningful. But none more so than our visit to George Floyd Square.
Minneapolis isn’t really on the way to or from anything, as far as I can tell. But twin city St. Paul is the home of one of our dearest friends, Lisa, and also my cousin and her wife. A visit was long overdue. While there we went to Louise Erdrich’s bookstore, Birchbark Books, buying as many books as we could fit in the already full trunk of our car just because supporting a small bookstore owned by such a great author made us happy. And, most significantly, we visited George Floyd Square. The place where it happened.
As the song goes, being in the room where it happens has impact. And being in that place that we saw so often on screens was deeply meaningful. Heartbreaking and heartwarming. The art, tributes, flowers, and poems sung out. I’ve posted some of my favorites here.
I wandered alone for a while, and noticed that Jen and Lisa were chatting with someone. When I spoke with her, I learned that she was George Floyd’s aunt Angela.
She wanted to know how I was doing and what I was feeling. I cried. We hugged. We talked about what George Floyd’s death meant to each of us and to the world, and talked about the movement that has sprung up from his horrific murder.
It’s been a long hard year. In addition to being witness to all that has occurred, I lost one of my closest friends. Even so, I have had personal good fortune, in stark contrast to so many others. And yet, being at George Floyd Square, and meeting his aunt, also made me hopeful. Change is going to come.
From all of us here at Oppenheimer Investigations Group, wishing you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving.