Almost a year ago George Floyd lost his life at the hands of a Police Officer in Minnesota. Yesterday, that Minneapolis Police Officer, Derek Chauvin, was convicted of Mr. Floyd’s death. Although this court trial resulted in the conviction of Chauvin, we still must hold the Justice system and Police accountable to examine the systemic racism that led to this moment.
This recent court decision in Minneapolis provides the necessary justice required for the crime committed by Chauvin. It is only scratching the surface of a problem that has been a strain on this country for decades. The recent deaths of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo at the hands of police and other injustices that still are rampaging thru our country say that the work to eradicate racism and oppression must be ongoing and intentional.
Now is the time to invoke and push the anti-racism movement to the forefront in this country; racism is part of America’s original sin and is still destroying our ability to have a union that is for all people regardless of race, creed, color, or sexual orientation.
People must recognize and acknowledge the continued hardship that Black People and others of color face daily in this country only because of their skin color. As a Black Man in America balancing that is exhausting: it causes heartache, headache, and unnecessary stress that leads to all types of health ailments. The right to just be is a freedom that some take for granted because their existence is not challenged daily due to the color of their skin.
At this moment:
Take time to reflect on yesterday’s verdict.
Take time to educate yourself on what is happening in this country.
Take time to understand that many are not afforded the same privileges as you.
Take time to understand that humanity must be afforded to all because no one human is more important than another.
Take time to recognize that the ongoing battle against racial and social injustice has people hurting; reach out in a meaningful way to support.
Be the change that the world deserves in your own way but please open up to listen, ask questions, learn and use empathy to support those of us that fight against this battle of racism and discrimination daily. This is our moment and we must dig deep to be part of the resolution to eliminate this plague on our society and advance our efforts to become an anti-racist country. The YMCA of Central New York is in to fight this battle. No more standing on the sidelines.
Bertram L. Lawson II
President & CEO
YMCA of Central New York