June 8, 2020
Dear George Floyd:
Words cannot express the deep pain in my bones as my heart aches with sorrow for what happened to you at the hands of those who took an oath to protect and serve. I can only pray that your soul is at rest as you sit at the feet of Jesus watching the world come to your defense saying “enough is enough.”
Perhaps you’re sitting with Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Philando Castile, Dreasjon “Sean” Reed, Breonna Taylor, Botham Jean, Ahmaud Arbery and Emmett Till — just a few of the millions of Black brothers and sisters who were unjustly murdered because of pure hatred and the legacy of discrimination. I can only imagine the conversation when you arrived: “George, we pray the images of your horrifying death and your last words ‘I can’t breathe’ will finally penetrate the hearts and souls of Americans to take action against the hatred that fuels racism in our country. We’ve seen these episodes of violence play out for 401 years and our question is, ‘when will it end?’”
Is this the moment?
As an African American man and nonprofit Founder and CEO of nearly 27 years I have dedicated my life’s mission to service of others to eradicate the systemic racism that is pervasive in every aspect of our society — housing, education, employment, healthcare, law enforcement, environment, and well-being. I call these the “backpacks of trauma” that feel like a hundred pounds of constant pressure on our necks, crippling and stifling the life out of our communities.
I know this journey all too well, like many who have experienced the constant knee on our necks at the mercy of institutions and individuals that don’t value communities of color. Just a few months ago, I wrote about a racist attack on my wife and I last summer. You can read the piece from the San Jose Mercury News here: https://www.unitycare.org/opinion-attack-shows-racism-is-on-the-rise-in-our-own-backyards/.
Today is the moment and tomorrow we must wake up different, with a renewed spirit and commitment to eradicating racism perpetuated by people in charge of institutions that don’t value our Black and Brown lives.
Will you take a stand and join our call to action?
Here’s just a few things you can do:
- Educate yourself about institutional racism and the African American experience. Here’s a few books to read: Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow,” Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy,” Douglas A. Blackmon’s “Slavery by Another Name,” Richard Rothstein’s ”The Color of Law,” and my book “Roses in Concrete — Giving Foster Children the Future they Deserve”.
- Stand up for injustices when you hear, see, and are made aware! Do not be silent; take action!
- Invest in the African American community through African American-led non-profit agencies that exist to support the advancement of Black lives.
- Join the Boards of non-profits who fight every day against social and economic injustices of our formal systems.
This a moment in history that will forever be remembered. Our ability to turn this moment into a sustainable movement of change depends on our White brothers and sisters staying engaged and concerned about the well-being of their Black brothers, sisters and communities of color.