Monday, June 1, 2020
George Floyd died on May 25, 2020. Mr. Floyd died because a police officer decided to kill him by cutting off his blood and air supply with the officer's knee. Mr. Floyd left a six-year old daughter. He had moved to Minneapolis for a fresh start and was laid off due to COVID-19. Floyd was a human being, one whose life was eliminated on film.
Mr. Floyd called for his deceased mother when he was dying. I can imagine no response to that fact other than being brought to our knees. Outrage at the actions of Officer Chauvin is matched by the grief of knowing Mr. Floyd was aware of his impending death and sought help or perhaps, I prefer to think solace, from his deceased mother. -
The horror, of course, is compounded for African Americans who live with actual or threatened police brutality every day. African Americans, no matter what their socioeconomic status face daily indignities that are largely unacknowledged by white people.
The country is at a pivotal point. African Americans and others are grieving a brutal and unnecessary death. And much of the white US is carrying on as usual, even if carrying on looks different during semi-quarantine. Lately, news reports give more focus to property damage than to the sources and impact of racial discrimination.
Mr. Floyd is not yet buried. The grief is raw and new. When death happens, we step out of our ordinary routines. Those who can stop working. We take time to cry and be with our friends and family. What to do in grief is complex. But we can ask African American individual and communities how we can help.
I am disturbed when I see the world operating largely without acknowledging this grief. Why aren’t flags at half-mast. Why aren’t we demanding official times of mourning? As with any grieving, we need to acknowledge the pain of those suffering most. We need to be of service whatever that looks like. That doesn't happen when the world continues as usual, even at its new slower speed.