A year ago, George Floyd (yes, say his name) was brutally murdered in broad daylight, by a law enforcement officer. His death was yet another addition to the long list of black people who have suffered the same fate.
However, akin to Rosa Parks’ arrest or Dr. King’s assassination, it was unique in one respect. It shocked a population who had been long traumatized into accepting systemic racism as a routine. The ensuing furore manifested in the Black Lives Matter protests across the world is testament to that.
A year on, George Floyd’s anniversary, provides a moment to reflect. Here are a few thoughts.
“Great democracies have institutions that are constantly assessing and, if necessary, adjusting the course of the country in the pursuit of consistency with our values and our law, even under the most stressing conditions.”- Dr. Condolezza Rice (No Higher Honor)
George Floyd’s case is unique in that the perpetrator was actually held accountable. Having a President who has the fortitude to acknowledge America’s original sin is also a boon to the cause. The simple yet powerful act of President Biden meeting the Floyd family and calling for legislation to avert such incidents in the future is the hallmark of responsible leadership.
“All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us that we are more alike than we are unalike.” – Maya Angelou (Letters to My Daughter)
The diversity in the millions of people across the world who raised their voices against George Floyd’s death is inspiring. It is proof that the ‘us versus them’ narrative no longer pass muster. Our differences (religion, race, gender etc) are strengths, not weaknesses.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles (Ikigai)
In the face of frustration and cynicism, the world rallied together, hopeful that justice would be served. We’ve seen state legislatures, federal government and the private sector respond to the call for inclusion, fairness and diversity. Whereas it may not be at full scale, it is progress in the right direction. These decisions reflect what we’d want the future to be.
These are unique times. Difficult for most. Yet turning points all through history occur during such periods . It is important to remain aware of the time we occupy in history and seize the opportunity for change.
As Dr. King said:
“There comes a time when time itself is ready for a change. The leaders do not ask for the task, but are tracked down by the spirit of the times until it consumes them; they reach a point when they become a symbol of both the disaffected and the movement swirling around them.”
What reflections have you had a year later?