Justice for George Floyd
A Message to Our Community:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
- Langston Hughes
In a nation that I often hear described as post-racial, I invite you to May 26, 2020. On this morning I awoke to a news story showing what I describe as a “modern day lynching.” For several minutes, I watched as a white male police officer forcefully pinned his knee in the neck of a Black man as bystanders recorded, yelled, and protested for the life of this Black man. On May 26, 2020, in a nation described as post-racial - I watched from my television screen as a Black man, wearing my same skin, pressed to the asphalt of a street repeatedly stated, “I can’t breathe.” As seconds ticked and minutes passed, I watched as a Black man cried out in broad daylight (to whom I later learned was his deceased mother) as he continuously struggled to breathe. As a mother of a fourteen-year-old Black son, I watched in a nation often deemed post-racial, as another mother’s child lay motionless beneath the knee of a white male police officer. As the older sister of a Black male, on May 26, 2020 I watched as a Black man was murdered in a nation often characterized as being post-racial.
On May 26, 2020, I also met a white woman named Amy Cooper. Amy Cooper was with her dog in New York’s Central Park. A Black man, Christian Cooper (no relation), asked her to leash her dog. They were in an area of the park that required dogs wear a leash. Christian began recording the interaction as Amy demanded that he stop - in a nation that is said to be post-racial. Christian Cooper refused to stop recording. Amy Cooper said she was going to call the cops and stated, “I’m gonna tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life!” Amy Cooper dials the cops as Christian Cooper continues recording the incident. Amy says, “There is an African- American man. I am in Central Park. He is recording me, and threatening myself and my dog.” She goes further to say, “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you either.” In this nation that many state is post-racial - Amy Cooper elevates her voice inciting fearful and tear-filled panic and states, “I’m being threatened by a man in the Ramble, please send the cops immediately!” There is a correlation between the actions of Amy Cooper and the murders of unarmed Black males in this nation often deemed as post-racial.
Times such as these remind me of the dire need for ongoing opportunities that promote the awakening of consciousness while encouraging the critical engagement of self and others. It is imperative that we individually have the collective dialogues to find SELF first when processing institutional racism. I caution you to be extremely mindful as you engage in intra-racial and inter-racial conversations centered around the events surrounding the murder of George Floyd.
As parents, family, educators, community members, and those that inhabit this earth - we help to hold the dreams of all of our young people. We are only as effective as the conversations we are able to hold. We need to learn more about each other. We need to care more about each other. We need to be able to BREATHE.
The Office of Equity stands in solidarity and demands action for the murder of George Floyd. We encourage you to take action towards swift and lasting justice.
Peace, Love, and Blessings,
Assistant Director, Equity