Grace Bassekle ’24 grew up near Brooklyn Center, just north of Minneapolis, and says she was stunned and distraught last April when, during what started as a seemingly routine traffic stop, local police shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man. Like the rest of the world, still reeling from the murder of George Floyd, she watched with concern as protest and unrest unfolded in her community. “I was heartbroken,” she says. “I was in Northfield, but I wanted to help my community.”
A couple of days after the incident, Bassekle, Mariam Zewdu ’24, Amira Aladetan ’24, and other students set up a campus fundraising effort, asking in an email blast and on Instagram posts that donations be sent via Venmo to the Ujamaa Collective, Carleton’s alliance of Black student organizations. The online effort raised nearly $10,000, and another $1,000 was collected during a hastily arranged bake sale in Sayles.
Fifty percent of the proceeds were channeled to a Brooklyn Center community GoFundMe page that was set up to ensure residents have access to food, toiletries, hygiene products, and medical supplies. Four thousand dollars went to the Wright family’s GoFundMe page to help pay for funeral costs and future expenses for Wright’s two-year-old child. The remainder was allocated to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which helps cover criminal bail and immigration bonds for people who cannot afford it.