Twins on George Floyd's death one year later

May 26th, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS -- One year ago, in this city, George Floyd died at the hands of former Minneapolis police officers.

Since then, the Twin Cities community has taken center stage in the continued -- and renewed -- national conversations around equity, racial injustice and police violence, culminating in three guilty verdicts for former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin last month.

But still, the work is far from complete, and that's what the Twins aimed to emphasize during a pregame ceremony before Tuesday night's contest against the Orioles at Target Field, during which they invited fans to reflect and unite over the events of the last year and the challenges that remain.

"It’s going to be a real moment of reflection for all of us here," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "I don’t care where you’re at in the country -- we’re all very different right now than we were a year ago. We’ve all opened our eyes and experienced a ton of change because of it, hopefully for the better for many of us."

On Tuesday, the Twins began their commemoration with a pair of videos on the scoreboard that affirmed the organization's commitment to support positive change in the community and highlighted the actions taken by the Twins, Pohlad Family Foundation and nonprofit partners in effecting such change in the Twin Cities -- under the theme of, "I will change the world."

They continued with ceremonial first pitches delivered on video by representatives of the Twins' nonprofit partners in the community, including Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities, Neighborhood House, Northside Achievement Zone, Pillsbury United Communities, Urban Ventures and YWCA of Minneapolis.

Members of the Twins' front office and employees of the Pohlad companies stood along the left-field warning track at Target Field, carrying a black ribbon together as a symbol of solidarity. Everyone in the stadium joined for moments of silence for both Floyd and Daunte Wright, who was killed by a police officer in the suburb of Brooklyn Center, Minn., in April.

"As we stand out there, there will be some real emotion for a lot of our people," Baldelli said. "A lot of us were here experiencing everything firsthand in the community, in Minneapolis."

Both in outward messaging and with actions taken by the organization and its forward-facing individuals, the club has aimed to show its support for the justice movement from the beginning following Floyd's death in South Minneapolis last May 25.

Team owner Jim Pohlad and his family announced a $25 million donation towards racial justice initiatives, rebuilding impacted communities and pushing for long-term structural change in coordination with the local government and community leaders last June, in the aftermath of the civil unrest around the Twin Cities community following Floyd's murder.

Ten members of the Twins' clubhouse knelt in solidarity during the national anthem on Opening Day last season, and the Twins unveiled messaging on their outfield walls that included "Justice for George Floyd." They still have signage up in right field commemorating Floyd's life and their commitment to fight racism.

Words alone won't bring about necessary change, but one year removed from the tragedy, the Twins hope to use their platform to continue the conversation and provide resources and support for a healing -- and changing -- community.

"As a changed human being, the conversations that we’ve all been having and that we’ve all been kind of aware of and exposed to over the last year are what’s going to make us better," Baldelli said. "That level of awareness is the most important thing that we can take from any of this.

"It was very emotional. It was very traumatic in a lot of ways. But there are things you can take from a terrible tragedy and everything that’s gone along with it to make each and every one of us better people. And that’s what our goal should be."