It’s hard to believe that it has been two years since George Floyd tragically passed away at the hands of law enforcement in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In that time, so much has changed and yet, so much has remained the same. In 2020, the world experienced a “Racial Reckoning” – a summer of mostly peaceful protests calling for an end to police brutality and the wanton murder of unarmed civilians.
These worldwide protests gave hope to the idea that Black people – Africans, African Americans, Afro-Europeans – would finally begin to experience the full embrace of all humanity; an acknowledgment that our lives – Black Lives – mattered, too.
But that hope has given way to an uncomfortable truth – that there are people in this world who do not want to accept the full humanity of people of African descent. Through legal means (laws limiting our access to the vote) and extralegal means – outright assassination in public places normally deemed safe – we have seen that summer of hope turn into bitter disappointment.
But, we must persevere. We shall not give up. George Floyd did not seek to be a martyr, but his brutal death is a searing reminder of the work that remains to be done. We must continue to demand police accountability. We must advocate for a system of policing that engages the community and is part of the community that it protects and serves. And we must find ways to continue to engage in constructive, meaningful dialog with people who don’t understand us. We are all neighbors, sharing this amazing space we call America.
George Floyd’s death gave rise to the Center for Racial and Social Justice at Shaw University. With this Center, we aim to educate, advocate, and promote racial justice and healing, and seek to find ways to address systemic racism and oppression. For example, this past year the CRSJ and the City of Raleigh partnered to produce the Courageous Community Conversations, a series of panel discussions aimed at discovering ways in which the City of Raleigh can facilitate a more just and equitable society here at home. The CRSJ is an extension of Shaw University’s 156-year legacy of making a difference in the lives of African Americans through education, activism, and community empowerment. Even as we make these strides forward, the entire Shaw community continues to mourn the loss of George Floyd, and we are committed to honoring his legacy.
- In remembrance of George Floyd, we will continue to vote.
- In remembrance of George Floyd, we will advocate for sensible police reform.
- In remembrance of George Floyd, we will seek to end gun violence in our communities.
- In remembrance of George Floyd, each of us, in our own way, will work to make this country a better place for all of us.