(Photos by mana5280, munshots, Mercedes Mehling, and Josh Olalde on Unsplash)
It is hard to believe that it’s been a year since we all saw the video of George Floyd‘s murder by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin — it seems like it happened years ago, and also yesterday.
In the days and months that followed, at Generocity we ran a lot of stories emerging from the uprising that followed Floyd’s killing, and later, after Walter Wallace Jr.’s killing in Philly. And looking back, it is striking that the reflections remain so resonant and retain so much of their urgency.
We know that the work of dismantling systemic racism and confronting anti-Blackness is far from over, but these words stand to remind us that there is no more important work to be done our city and our nation.
We dove into our archives from 2020 to pick the seven pieces we’ve excerpted here. These strong, local, Black voices are worth reading in their entirety, so we’ve linked the original headlines for you.
“I remember the moment I started to feel fear as a mother. Real fear.
It was February 1999 when Amadou Diallo, a 23-year-old West African immigrant reached for his wallet and was greeted with a hail of bullets from four police officers who thought he was a suspect in a rape case. Forty-one shots later, an innocent man was dead.
I haven’t had a really good night’s sleep since, because that killing taught me a painful lesson. I could never take for granted that my three boys would return home each night. They are men now, but I still don’t sleep.”
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“Systemic injustice is not just police brutality. It’s the destruction of Black families and communities throughout America.
It’s massive health inequities. It’s the lack of mental health care, lack of hospitals in minority communities, Black people being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. It’s the massive wealth gap between Blacks and whites, Black veterans being denied VA home loans post-WW-II, redlining.
It’s generations of Black kids being told they’re ‘not worthy,’ the criminal justice system, the war on drugs. It’s alcoholism, drug dependency, homelessness, gun violence.
“This is the America that Black and Indigenous people and other people of color have experienced for generations.
This is the America my grandfather and my father warned me about. This is the America that I discuss with my children and now the one they discuss on their Instagram stories. It is an America that has been normalized through hate, a lack of information, a lack of understanding, and silence. White privilege, fear, and fragility have sustained a culture of supremacy at the cost of Black lives and livelihoods.
This America is one that philanthropy must confront with vigorous focus, intentionality, accountability, and resources.”
“Black Lives Matter is more than a slogan.
It is a call for our nation and every system to arise and acknowledge the humanity of Black people, rectify the centuries of oppression and commit to the path of justice.
In philanthropy, it’s a call to mindfully center BIPOC communities, who will identify solutions and approaches that are helpful to all, and embrace what is necessary for equity to be nurtured and sustained. Philanthropy has the ability to repair and evolve itself, but only in relationship with communities.”
“The year 2020 should not look and feel like the year 1964.
It is not supposed to. We were told that if we had more representation in elected office and positions of power that things would change. But history has shown us that just because we slap a Black face onto a system of oppression, it doesn’t make the system any less oppressive or racist. In Philadelphia, we have gotten Black leadership into office and have nothing to show for it. We’ve had three Black mayors, four Black police commissioners, a Black DA, countless Black judges and state legislators, and a City Council that is predominantly Black. And still, the year 2020 feels like 1964.
We still live in a system where George Floyd can be murdered with a police officer’s knee on his neck, captured in broad daylight on video, and we still have to question whether that officer will be brought to justice.”
“The death of George Floyd is forcing many Americans to take a good look at the buckets of hope for a better life that people of color have been carrying for a long time.
Nothing will change until we deal with the gaping holes of injustice and inequity.
Dr. King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” To me, what matters is improving the health of our most vulnerable populations and I cannot and will not remain silent.
I stand prepared to take the bold and necessary actions to lead the Brandywine Health Foundation into the future as we strive to carry out our vision: A thriving, inclusive and healthy community for all.”
“Being caught between joy and fear when thinking about the color of your skin is never fun and I don’t think our allies will ever fully understand.
After the past few days, I’m hoping that maybe they will have a better sense of that. That things will continue to change and move forward.
Or is this just for show, an event to be a part of for however long it lasts? I’m not sure that the images of some police kneeling is completely sincere, but something to appease us so that we’ll go away.
We’re not going away.”
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