We are all GEORGE. May we see FLOYD.
A Private Cry:
As a young person growing up in Kenya, I never experienced racism. I did not know what racism was until I came to the United States. As a private resident in the US, whenever incidents of racism occurred, I made very few remarks since I was on a journey of understanding the country that I am now a citizen of and have a duty toward. The deaths of many Black men and women by the hand of White policemen or White citizens of this country are indeed painful. Each time I cry privately with my wife, a Black lady born and brought up at St. Nicholas Apartments in Harlem, New York.
Context for Public Pain and Hurt:
Now, I am a Black man with Black children born in the US. It hurts me personally when these incidents happen because it easily could be me, my wife, or my child that it happens to. I have been racially profiled before while reading a book at a park in a Cincinnati neighborhood. It really hurt. My son is a 14-year old and delivers newspapers. It scares me each time he goes out there without me or my wife. He was once approached by a White man who asked him what he was doing at a home adjacent to my street, yet he was there only to collect delivery dues from a white family that we have known for five years. It really hurt. Recently, we saw the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery while he was just jogging in his community. Likewise, I am jogging in every ZIP Code throughout Hamilton County on a sportsmanlike campaign for public office. Each day I go out, the death of Ahmaud is on my mind. And it really hurts with every run.
We are all GEORGE
All lives are essential. The killing of George Floyd really hurts. We are all GEORGE:
- Grieving that humanity has lost a precious life – killed while shopping.
- Empathetic that a family has lost a father to a Black sixteen-year-old girl.
- Outraged that this death happened at the hands of a White policemen.
- Responsive to the pain of our kind who just want to live and to breathe.
- Glum that many Black lives are devalued daily in our communities.
- Expectant that change will come and racism in all its forms will end.
May we see FLOYD
Black lives matter. The legacy of George Floyd should be a new beginning in all our communities across the US. May we see a new day of FLOYD:
- Friendship that is authentic between all racial groups, but primarily Blacks and Whites.
- Leadership in local government that deeply understands this moment and its impact.
- Ownership from law enforcement for the actions of rogue officers against Black men.
- Yield to the greatest issue of our time – the need for racial equity in the power of love.
- Dreams for Black lives to matter. I have a dream. We have a dream. Let us dream BIG!
This is US, Hamilton County
George Floyd is us. May we weep. May we lament. May we be George. May we see Floyd. What I have learned for sure in the last nineteen years is that racism in America is extraordinarily complex. None of us has the perfect answer. Around 230 years ago, Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from Charlestown in Nevis, West Indies, the man whom our county is named after, said, “I never expect to see a perfect work from an imperfect man.” Today, this immigrant from Kenya, an American by naturalization, says “We are not getting the issue of race done right, but we have to do the imperfect work of getting rid of it.” It is time for change. All the painful things we see happening around us, are symptoms of the larger, complex issue of racism.
May we meet this moment with the fervor, rigor, inspiration, earnestness, nobility, distinction, solidarity, heartiness, integrity, and purpose that it demands. George Floyd is us. If you are on social media and want to call for change, consider using the hashtag #MayWeSeeFloyd. If you are engaging in neighborhood activism to champion a new beginning, demonstrate that We Are All George. Do not further damage anything today. The damage was done centuries ago and has existed for many years. Swift justice is coming for the life of George Floyd. Now, let us celebrate his life and those of many others lost due to racism by working diligently to resolve the centuries old damage. This is us, Hamilton County.