Remembering George Floyd, One Year Later

One year ago on this day, George Floyd took his last breath. For over nine minutes, he called out for his mother, pleading with the officers that he could not breathe. As George’s brother so aptly stated, “his skin was his sin.”

Now, 525,600 minutes later, we’re continuing to reflect on what has happened since George was murdered. While I am grateful that some promising racial progress has been made in the U.S. and across the globe, the picture of Derek Chauvin –  a white man – on top of George Floyd – a Black man – is an apt metaphor for racial disparities in Minnesota.

The violence we are experiencing at the hands of too many police officers, as well as the egregious surge in community violence, is an American creation rooted in all our systems that includes judicial, educational, environmental, housing, health, jobs, and wealth creation. If we are going to dismantle anything, let it be the root, which is the culture of whiteness and the systems that hold it up.

Our children are the ones who are suffering the most as they deal with the trauma of violence perpetrated against Black and brown people, whether by the police or a community member. We must make them front and center in this time of racial reckoning by changing laws, policies, practices, attitudes, and our actions, with their well-being in mind.

I believe the recent verdict brought some much-needed healing to our hearts and to our past. May we march forward, shoulder-to-shoulder, embracing the hard work that lies ahead. We can and will transform our country, but only together. Let’s start with policing but not stop there. The memory of those who have been killed by racism and the hopelessness it engenders must inflame our hearts and fuel our actions for a more just nation—NOW!

And while there is much more work to be done, I’m honored to lead this work because there is nothing more important to the future of our country than the future of our children.

For George Floyd, for Daunte Wright, for our children,

Sondra Samuels
NAZ President and CEO