As protests demanding justice following the death of George Floyd take place in major cities across America, in the Twin Cities, where Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was seen kneeling on the black man’s neck until he died, the peaceful protests have turned especially violent.
While harrowing footage on the news shows protesters looting stores and setting buildings on fire, a heartwarming video shared on Twitter on Friday showed a group of Mennonites in plain dress peacefully singing in protest in Minneapolis. By Saturday, the Mennonites’ street performance, which was first captured on video by Ned Zimmer, went viral on social media. The video has since been viewed over 13 million times.
At first, many viewers believed the protestors seen in the video were Amish, and according to Amish Country Gazebos, they do have very similar beliefs as Mennonites. While both groups formed following the Anabaptist movement, the Amish and Mennonites have a few defining qualities that separate the two communities.
Unlike most Amish communities, Mennonites are allowed to drive cars, use electricity and telephones. Like many religions, what’s prohibited can also vary from the numerous sects within the Mennonite community, so it’s difficult to assign absolute qualities in general.
Peter J. Carr, who’s running for Governor of Colorado tweeted, “Everyone is misidentifying the group as #Amish. I’m Mennonite. I believe they may be Old Order Mennonite, or Hutterite, or Mennonite Brethren. We all believe the same basic principle of peace.”
“As a Mennonite,” Carr continued, “I believe in being in this world but not being of this world. Mennonites believe in and use the tools and technology, hopefully for the greater good. Amish do not. Their belief is that they don’t want to be dependent on tech.”
Violent Protests & Looting in Minneapolis Continued for a Fourth Night on Friday
On May 29, people gathered outside to protest not just in Minneapolis, but in Washington, D.C., where The White House was briefly put on lockdown, Louisville, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Denver, Pheonix, Memphis, and Columbus, were all taking to the streets in the name of George Floyd.
The destructive scene in the Twin Cities on Friday night led Minnesota Governor Tim Walz to give a press conference in the early hours of Saturday morning. Walz pleaded for protestors to go home and announced that 1,700 soldiers from the National Guard would be deployed in Minneapolis by Sunday to help cease the unrest in the city.
Over the course of the night, protestors ignored the 8 p.m. curfew and proceeded to set fire to a post office, Wells Fargo bank, and a Hibachi restaurant to denounce the murder of George Floyd.
On Friday, a GoFundMe account was set up to help KB Balla, who’s a firefighter with the Brooklyn Center Fire Department and a business entrepreneur whose Scores sports bar was looted, vandalized, and burned down during the violent protests.
Thus far, the fundraiser has far outraised its initial goal of $100,000. As of Saturday afternoon, $679,176 had been donated to Balla.